Focusing on Square Credit Card Processing for Small Business Owners
Unlike most Square (squareup.com) reviews that talk about Square’s various services and features, this review primarily covers topics that matter specifically to small business owners regarding credit card processing, point-of-sale, and processing fees when accepting payments. Square has a plethora of technology, which we will briefly mention below, but this review will focus on Square’s payment technology, card reader, desktop POS, store builder and e-commerce platform.
Is Square Holding Your Funds Right Now?
Before we get started, thousands of merchants have reported their payments frozen by Square. If you’re one of them, then you might find the following resources helpful:
Started by the Twitter Guy
Founded in February of 2009 by Jack Dorsey, who is also the founder of Twitter, Square has grown into a large, publicly-owned company (NYSE: SQ). Much of the company’s success can be attributed to its unique take on mobile credit card processing and by being the first to market with it. Traditional credit card processing companies restricted their services to actual businesses, required a long application process, required and credit check, and often have a slimy sales process designed to milk the most in fees out of their customers. Square eliminated most of these barriers brought card payments and acceptance to everyone with a quick sign-up and easy-to-understand fees.
Quick Sign-up and Intuitive Design
Signing up for the company’s payment processing service and payment gateway service is simple: users simply visit Square’s website to fill out a short form and await approval, which typically happens instantly. The credit card readers plug into the headphone jack, charging port, or connects via Bluetooth to a contactless card reader thereby turning almost any Apple or Android device into mobile credit card machine. In fact, the app has been so successful that it has inspired numerous competitors, including both big-name competitors and fledgling startups.
Other Square Services
Since the launch of the Square card reader and mobile app, Square has rolled out several other services for both business and personal use.
- Square Register is a point-of-sale (POS) device that is intended as an all-in-one payment terminal for retail businesses. The product — which can be purchased for $999 upfront or $49 per month for 24 months — also comes with a lower transaction fee. Users can also purchase the older “Square Stand” which acts as an iPad mount and card reader in one unit.
- Square Terminal is a wireless point-of-sale (POS) device that is designed to replace your conventional countertop credit card terminal. Square Terminal costs $399 upfront or $37 per month for 12 months and comes with a swiped fee of 2.6% plus $0.10. It can accept EMV and NFC payments and has a built-in printer.
- Square Online Store is an online store builder for selling products over the internet. The platform is simple to use and quick to set up with the only cost of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction and no monthly fees.
- Square for Retail is a point-of-sale system specifically designed for brick-and-mortar retailers. The service is similar to 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 is a direct peer-to-peer cash transfer service that is linked to a user’s debit card. 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 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 over time with a fixed percentage of their daily credit card sales.
Additional Square Offerings
Square has also recently launched several other service including a virtual terminal, 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.
Table of Contents
- 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 and offers lower rates to users based on their business type or the proprietary hardware they use to host the payment processing platform.
- Complaints & Service: Square has received more than 2,300 public complaints and offers only limited phone support.
- BBB Rating: Square has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 5,023 complaints and 381 reviews in the past 3 years.
- 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.