Unlike most Square reviews (squareup.com & square.com), this Square Up review primarily covers the topics that matter to most merchants and small business owners rather than Square’s technology. Square is often called “Square up” or “Squareup” because of the domain that Square uses for its website; however, the official name for this company is “Square.” For the purposes of this review, the two names will be used interchangeably.
Founded in February of 2009 by Jack Dorsey, who is also the founder of Twitter.com, Square has grown into a large, publicly-owned company (NYSE: SQ) in a very small amount of time. Much of the company’s success can be attributed to the fact that Square has ingeniously broken the mold of credit card processing by removing the traditional barriers that restricted processing services to actual businesses, thereby bringing credit card acceptance to the individual, or essentially anyone and everyone.
Signing up for the company’s payment processing service is simple: iPhone, iPad, and Android users simply purchase a square card reader, fill out a quick online form, and download the Square app. They can also purchase the reader at several nationwide retailers. The Square credit card readers plug into the headphone jack (original Square swiper) or USB port (contactless card reader) of the merchant’s phone or tablet, thereby making it a mobile credit card terminal. In fact, Square’s model has been so successful that it has inspired numerous clones both from big-name competitors and fledgling startups.
Related: Best Card Processing Apps for iPhone
- Sales & Marketing: Square is extremely transparent about its simple pricing model, but merchants may not receive proper advance warning during the signup process that they are at risk of having their funds held.
- Costs & Contract: Square charges only 2.75% per swiped transaction or 3.15% per keyed-in transaction with no monthly fees, annual fees, or long-term contracts.
- Complaints & Service: Square has received more than 2,000 public complaints and offers only limited phone support.
- BBB Rating: Square has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 1,584 complaints in the past three years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Square
Other Square Services
Since the launch of its card reader and mobile app, Square has rolled out several other payment services for both business and personal use.
Square Register (see review) is a point-of-sale (POS) system that provides extra features not included in the company’s mobile app, including analytics, sales reporting, staff management, and a customizable item library. The service, which is free to download and optimized for the iPad, also allows merchants to set up loyalty programs and send digital receipts. Additionally, users can purchase the optional “Square Stand” which acts as an iPad mount and card reader in one unit.
Square Online Store (see review) is an online store directory for Square merchants. Merchants with an existing Square account can create an online profile for their store within the Square marketplace for free. They may then sell their products through their Square online store for 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
Square for Retail (see review) is a point-of-sale system specifically designed for brick-and-mortar retailers. The service is similar to Square Register but includes a revamped checkout process as well as additional features such as enhanced inventory management, employee accounts, cost of goods sold, purchase orders, vendor lists, and more.
Square Cash (see review) is a direct peer-to-peer cash transfer service that is linked to a user’s debit card. Square Cash sends payments via email and smartphone and allows for free transfers of funds between users. The service is not targeted at business owners, but they may use it to make payments outside of a business setting.
Square Capital (see review) is a merchant cash advance program that can be activated from the dashboard in the Square Register. Square Capital allows merchants to receive a large upfront cash amount and then pay that total back to Square over time with a fixed percentage of their daily credit card sales.
Square has also recently launched an NFC-enabled EMV chip card reader, an order-ahead app called Square Order, an online invoicing feature called Square Invoices, an online scheduler called Square Appointments, and an offline processing mode that enables merchants to capture payments even when their internet is down.