Square Register Review

Overview

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 and has recently added an attachment for EMV card acceptance.

Square Register Products and Services

  • 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 that allows swiping and is compatible with the company’s EMV reader

Industries

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • Seasonal
  • Micro-merchant
a

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

Employs Independent Resellers No
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

As a product offered by Square, Square Register is advertised in the same way that Square credit card processing is advertised. When it comes to transaction fees, contract terms, equipment costs, and add-on services, Square is exceptionally transparent. The company maintains a very simple pricing structure and does not bury hidden costs in a complicated contract. Its quoted pricing for Square Register hardware and software additions is clear.

However, Square does have two major shortcomings: its lack of live customer support and its fund holding policies. These two aspects of Square’s service are not fully addressed in its promotional materials, and thousands of merchants have reported that they were blindsided by problems related to these two specific issues. This can be described as either a marketing issue or a service issue. Since customer support and fund holds are generally unrelated to the Square Register product itself, they will not count against the company in this review.

Square Register Marketing Example

b

Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate 2.75%
Keyed-in Rate 3.5% + $0.15
Early Termination Fee None
Monthly Minimum None

Square offers simple, straightforward pricing of 2.75% per swiped transaction and 3.5% plus $0.15 per keyed-in transaction with no monthly fees, long-term contracts, or termination fees. Square offers a countertop stand for iPads for $99 and an NFC/EMV chip card reader for $49. It also has a number of additional software modules that can be integrated with Square Register for variable monthly costs. In general, credit card processing contracts don’t get much lower-commitment or transparent than Square.

Although Square’s pricing may be attractive to a number of business owners, the company has one major contractual drawback that appears to be responsible for many of its online complaints. 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.

c

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints 1,600+
Live Customer Support Active Merchants Only
Most Common Complaint Fund Holds

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.

On the negative side, 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.

c

BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 542
Billing & Collection Complaints 269
Advertising & Sales Complaints 463
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 34
Delivery Complaints 63

Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.

As of this update, the Better Business Bureau is reporting an “A+” rating for Square despite 1,371 complaints filed in the last 36 months. This complaint total is up from the company’s total at the time of our last update (1,185), which may indicate that Square’s BBB complaint total could increase further. The number is up from 812 complaints as of our January 2014 update and 603 complaints as of our July 2013 update, and has skyrocketed from just a few dozen complaints since we first published this review in April of 2011. Surprisingly, the BBB has also raised Square’s grade from a “B+” in July of 2013 to an “A+” despite the rising complaint volume.

Of the complaint total, 542 are regarding problems with service, 269 with billing and collection disputes, 63 with delivery problems, 463 with advertising and sales issues, and 34 due to a guarantee or warranty issue. The BBB has also added a note stating that it has received many complaints regarding Square’s fund withholding procedure. Square has responded by quoting its Terms of Use policies and referring to the help section of its website. The company has successfully resolved 194 complaints, while the remaining 1,177 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final assessment from the merchant.

Due to the company’s high complaint count, rapid growth, and short time in business, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C” for the purposes of this review.

Square Register

Square Register Bottom Line

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.

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

7 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. I love the square registers. We take them to special events and they work flawlessly and provide us with excellent real time sales info. No flaws, best system we have used by far.

    1. How is it aquare advertises that they are the best? My first experience with square is turning into a nughtmare.. before i registered i was geeting all these great emails how great the ap[ps are customer service money availabilities,, and get emails every 30 minues but once i go thru the process to register, add my information and try tio read the small terms and Conditions which seem to go on and on,, and then when im putting in my charges the system doesnt give any flags or markers stopong the user by notifying verification is required before moving forward,, it just lets you enter evrything, then the next morning io get an email saying a rep has been trying to contact you to verify your account so that your money isnt held up.. and the then you go back to your dash board and then you ask for contract, orders, and so fourth. yet you dont provide any disclaimers on the program screen.. then you try to down load docs and ask more questions then you need to know.. and then.. it becomes difficult get help. Then you go to help. and your made to fill out send an email,, then you send response saying Thank you in Bold Black letters?? is that some type of red flag, for us poor smucks who just gave you our hard work money?? because after that.. you send emails.. asking for assitance . and then you send blank emails.. with subjet line thank you.. and then.. nothing happens??

      Its amazing I spent less then fifteen minutes entering my first ever CC charges, money i worked haed for.. and then i spend 4 hours waiting docs yo uplooad.. and nothing happens..

      and what worsed.. if we canel you still keep our money for 14 buisness days.. is that so your company can look profitable on wall street index?

      Isn’t that allot like loan shark, except you guys never loan.. you only take?
      Maybe its PONZI.. hey thats great..

      Thanks square for making my first ever business cc transaction a bad one.. so bad.. that i will have suffer your sadistic game. and wait.. but never again will ever use Square.. and im sure that the best way to advertise is word of mouth.. and guess what??

      its holiday weekend.. and what a great way to start it with Square…. get the kids ready.. load up the Rv and then Sit in your drive way because Square just drove by honkng at you and your family screaming.. SUCKAAAASSS!!!

  2. The worst customer service on the world
    I swiped my customer’s card 8 days ago the funds still not available on my account
    they don’t have customer center phone for real person and thru email they will respond only 3 days latter that you have to wait


    Are you with Square? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  3. Hello, first let me say that without Square I wouldn’t have the sales I do have, thank you for that. Now the new card readers do not seem to hold a charge for very long I am constantly recharging the readers(I have 2) is this going to improve any time soon? Or is this what we have to deal with?
    Thank you. Charles Ehrenhaft

  4. I have been trying to find a way to get a 1099k sent to me. nothing comes up when i go to dashboard. There is no phone #. I have just started working on taxes this week and i can find nothing on computer nor iphone. I have defended square but I am not so sure anymore.

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *