Square Register (squareup.com/register) is a free point-of-sale (POS) application offered by Square, a rapidly growing credit card processor founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Designed as a cloud-based replacement for traditional cash registers, Square Register should be thought of as a much more robust version of the company’s mobile app. Like the free Square app, Square Register can be downloaded to iPhone, iPad, or Android devices, although it is optimized for use with the iPad. The service also uses the standard Square card reader to accept swiped payments. Square Register distinguishes itself from the company’s mobile app, though, by providing the following additional features for merchants:
- Offline payment processing
- Customizable item descriptions and layout
- Real-time inventory tracking
- Advanced analytics with QuickBooks and Xero integration
- Real-time sales tracking and reporting
- Limited hardware compatibility (for receipt printers, kitchen ticket printers, cash drawers, bar code scanners, etc.)
- Multiple users for the same account
- Customizable rewards and loyalty programs
- An optional Square Stand (shown above) that allows merchants to swipe without the Square card reader
Square Register Video Introduction
Related: Best iPad and Tablet POS Systems
Square Register Pros
According to multiple professional and user reviews, Square Register receives praise for its sleek design, ease of use, and low cost. For smaller merchants who are already planning on using Square, the Register provides a number of helpful services for no additional charge. The data tracking and reporting offered through the app is helpful for merchants trying to grow their businesses, and the accounting integration saves businesses the trouble of manually entering payment information into QuickBooks or Xero. Hardware compatibility (for receipt printers, etc.) is also a big plus for merchants who seek a gentle transition from traditional registers to a cloud-based service like Square. To that end, the iPad app coupled with the Square Register Stand enables Square merchants to offer a more traditional checkout counter setup on their iPads that is less likely to confuse or inconvenience employees and customers.
Square Register also comes with Square pricing, which is just 2.75% swiped or 3.5% plus $0.15 keyed. The transparency and simplicity of this pricing plan is attractive to many merchants, although Square payment processing is not recommended for mid-sized or large merchants due to other potential costs.
Square Register Cons
Although Square’s pricing may be attractive to a number of business owners, the company has two major drawbacks that appear to be responsible for most of its online complaints. For one thing, Square’s easy signup is made possible by omitting a thorough underwriting process. This means that Square’s primary means of protecting itself against fraud is to place sudden fund holds on large or suspicious transactions, often without providing any advance notice to merchants. This policy, which is the topic of hundreds of public complaints, is unfortunately part of the processing service that comes bundled with the Square Register.
For another thing, Square offers virtually no live customer support for merchants. There is no Square Register phone number. This means that hardware issues, software bugs, billing disputes, and other issues may go unresolved for very long periods of time, leaving merchants without a solution of any kind during operating hours. This is the most consistent issue cited by Square merchants who have filed public complaints. For merchants lucky enough to avoid fund holds or service issues, Square is a great option. For those who encounter problems, there is hardly ever a swift and effective resolution.
Square Register Review
Rated out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Updated on 2015-03-17
Square Register is a difficult service to rate because it is so inextricably linked with Square’s payment processing service. For merchants of all sizes who are already using Square, the service is undeniably a helpful add-on. For no additional cost, Square merchants can add a large number of well-designed, customizable features designed to improve their iPad-based point-of-sale systems. For non-Square merchants, though, Square Register comes with the same caveats that Square does. Possible fund holds and minimal customer support should be enough to scare many merchants away from Square, and the Register app is not a strong enough point-of-sale system to override these concerns. For now, an average grade of “A-” splits the difference between the “A+” that is awarded to the actual Square Register app and the “B” that has been assigned to Square’s service as a whole.
This review was originally published on 11/12/13 and was last updated on 3/17/15.
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