Square for Retail Overview
Square’s Hardware and Software Suite for Retailers
Square for Retail is a POS application offered by Square. Square for Retail uses the same hardware as Square Register and shares many of the same features. However, Square for Retail is a paid monthly service that bundles additional retail-specific services along with the Square Register app so as to better serve conventional brick-and-mortar retailers.
Not to Be Confused With Square Register or Square Terminal
“Square for Retail” refers to Square’s original iPad-plus-stand payment terminal plus a whole host of hardware and software products, including a bar code scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer. “Square Register” is a newer all-in-one POS product that represents the future of Square’s POS strategy. “Square Terminal” is a cordless, portable payment processing terminal that connects to Wi-Fi or Ethernet. One notable difference between the traditional Square Register app and Square for Retail is that Square for Retail’s checkout flow is based on a smart search feature rather than selecting items from a prebuilt inventory display. Square for Retail is only available for the iPad.
Square for Retail Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Square for Retail offers a month-to-month contract with fixed per-transaction pricing and no early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: Square has received more than 3,000 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Square has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 2,916 complaints and 356 reviews in the past 3 years.
- Sales & Marketing: Square for Retail does not hire independent sales agents and displays its pricing for anyone to view.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Square for Retail
Products & Services Offered
- Multi-location inventory management
- Cost Of Goods Sold and profit projections
- Purchase orders and vendor lists
- Employee accounts and permissions
- Advanced customer outreach
- Tabs, check splitting, and tips
Types of Businesses Served
- Quick service
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Square for Retail Rates, Fees, and Costs
|Swiped Rate||2.5% + $0.10|
|Keyed-in Rate||3.5% + $0.15|
|e-Commerce Rate||2.9% + $0.30|
|Online Invoice Rate||2.9% + $0.30|
|Square Marketing||$15 Per Month|
|Loyalty Programs||$45 Per Month|
|Payroll||$5 Per Month|
|Square Stand Kit||$676|
|Early Termination Fee||$0|
|Additional POS||$20 Per Month|
Cheaper Rates Than Square App
Square for Retail offers simple, straightforward pricing of a $60 monthly fee and 2.5% plus $0.10 per tap, dip, or swipe and 3.5% plus $0.15 per keyed-in transaction with a monthly fee of $60 and no long-term contracts or termination fees. eCommerce transactions and online invoices through the Square Online Store are charged a rate of 2.9% + $0.30. The $60 monthly fee per register is more expensive than Square’s standard POS app, which is available as a free download and only charges per-transaction fees. Square also offers custom pricing plans for retailers with annual revenues over $250,000 and average ticket sizes over $15.
Square Hardware Costs
Square offers a countertop stand for iPads for $169, an NFC/EMV chip card reader for $49, and several optional hardware add-ons like a cash drawer ($109), a barcode scanner ($119), and a receipt printer ($229). It also has prepackaged bundles for retailers who use routers at their businesses and those who do not. In general, credit card processing contracts don’t come with less transparency or lower commitment than Square’s, even among the top-rated payment processors for retail merchants.
Lack of Underwriting
Although Square’s pricing may be attractive to several 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 Square for Retail.Are you happy with your Square for Retail fees? Tell us about them before your go!
Square for Retail Complaints & Customer Reviews
|Total Online Complaints||3,000+|
|Live Customer Support||Active Merchants Only|
|Most Common Complaint||Fund Holds|
Low Complaint Total
Square for Retail is still a relatively new product family at Square, so there aren’t many Square for Retail complaints at this time. For the purpose of this review, our data reflects complaints made against Square as a whole. The most common of those complaints concern merchants experiencing fund holds.
For mid-size retailers who already use Square, the service offers a variety of services that should prove useful with no real tradeoffs in function. New users should be pleasantly surprised by the enhanced inventory options, employee management tools, and accounting integrations. 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 Stand and the EMV/NFC reader dock remains a simple way for Square merchants to offer a more traditional checkout counter setup on their iPads that is less likely to confuse or inconvenience employees and customers.
In 2018, Square settled a class-action lawsuit filed against its food delivery service “Caviar”. The company was alleged to have withheld money from delivery workers left by customers as gratuities from 2012 to 2015 and agreed to pay $2.2 million dollars under the settlement.
Square for Retail Customer Support Options
On the negative side, Square offers only limited live customer support to merchants. Active Square users can contact Square by phone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST, but they will first need to obtain their customer code (see: How to Contact Square). Deactivated users cannot obtain a customer code. This means that their fund holds and other account issues may go unresolved for very long periods of time, leaving deactivated 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 for Retail BBB Rating Summary
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||2,051|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||686|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||56|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||18|
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.
No Dedicated BBB Profile
The Better Business Bureau does not have a designated profile for Square for Retail. BBB does maintain a profile for Square, which contemplates its merchant accounts across all of its services.
As of this update, the Better Business Bureau is reporting an “F” rating for Square despite 2,916 complaints filed in the last 36 months. This complaint total is up from the company’s total of 2,591 at the time of our last update, which may indicate that Square’s BBB complaint total could increase further. Unsurprisingly, the BBB has lowered Square’s grade from an “A+” to an “F” despite the rising complaint volume.
How the Complaints Break Down
What Merchants Say
Square has also received 356 informal reviews to its BBB profile, only 11 of which were positive on tone, meaning 345 are negative. The most recent review describes an issue with Square’s Cash app:
Don’t ever use the cash app for any reason somebody hacked my account sent me a new card to my home address and these fools ain’t going to do nothing about it but say sorry. Someone hacked into their system and obtained my personal home address and sent me a fraudulent card! There is no phone number for you to use and if you look on the BBB website for Better Business Bureau, There is almost 3,000 complaints. Unlink your bank account and debit card throw away their card and delete the app now! If something happens to your money you will never get it back!
It’s unclear what this user’s specific problem was, but all Square Cash users are advised to watch out for Square Cash app customer support scams.
Pattern of Complaint Notice
The BBB has also prefaced Square’s profile with a notice of the pattern of complaints that the company has received. Following a review of its profile, Square’s customer service issues have caused the BBB to offer merchants a forwarning:
Pattern of Complaint
Square, Inc. came to BBB’s attention in December 2010. A review of the company’s complaints on file was done in October 2019. Based on BBB files this company has a pattern of complaints. Complaints on file state a lack of customer service specifically; a lack of timely response to urgent issues, assistance, and communication.
BBB reached out to the company so that they may respond to the complaints currently on file and explain the process of handling support tickets. To date, the company has not responded.
A “C” Performance
Due to the company’s high complaint count compared to its relatively short time in business, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C” for the purposes of this review.
Truth In Marketing & Advertising
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
As a product offered by Square, Square for Retail 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 for Retail hardware and software additions is clear.
Unexpected Policy Drawbacks
However, Square does have two major shortcomings: its restricted live customer support and its fraud management 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 fund holds by Square. 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 for Retail product itself, they will not count against the company in this review.
Square for Retail Marketing Example
About Phillip Parker
Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.
Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services
I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.
From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers on this website.