Square Terminal Review

Square Terminal Overview

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Square’s Customer Support Number: (855) 700-6000

This is the only number (855-700-6000) we have located for Square’s customer support number. Please do not call any other numbers listed on this page. They cannot assist you will anything related to Square’s products and services.

Square’s Take On The Classic Credit Card Terminal

Launched in October 2018, the Square Terminal (squareup.com/us/en/hardware/terminal) is a point-of-sale product from Square that is intended to replicate the function of conventional EMV credit card terminals. Square Terminal is designed for merchants who want to use Square for their face-to-face credit card processing but do not wish to pay for the company’s more expensive point-of-sale options like Square Register.

Square Terminal Features

Square Terminal is a cordless, portable device that connects to Wi-Fi or Ethernet and can also process payments in offline mode. It accepts swiped or EMV payments, and it displays its PIN pad on a customer-facing touchscreen. It has a built-in receipt printer and NFC reader for accepting Google Pay and Apple Pay. Merchants can program preset checkout options into Square Terminal and use it for tableside payments.

Square Terminal Review Table of Contents

  • Sales & Marketing: Square Terminal does not hire independent sales agents and has not received any complaints about its sales practices.
  • Costs & Contract: Square Terminal offers a month-to-month contract with fixed-rate pricing and no early termination fees.
  • Complaints & Service: Square Terminal has received more than 2,200 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Square Terminal currently has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 1,911 complaints in the last three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Square Terminal
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Products & Services Offered

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • Inventory management
  • Sales analytics
  • Gift and loyalty programs
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Offline processing

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • Restaurant
  • Quick service
  • Seasonal

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Square Terminal Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate 2.6% + $0.10
Keyed-In Rate 3.5% + $0.15
Early Termination Fee None
Monthly Minimum Fee None
Square Terminal $399

$399 Without Financing

Merchants can buy Square Terminal outright for $399 or pay 12 monthly installments of $37. Square also offers a $300 statement credit for new Square users, which is intended to bring the effective cost of the terminal down to $99. The company does not state on its website whether merchants can stop making payments if they return the Square Terminal before their payment plan is concluded, so merchants should assume that any payment plan they agree to will constitute a purchase of the machine and will need to be paid in full. Transactions processed through Square Terminal are cheaper than normal Square transactions but more expensive than Square Register transactions, coming in at 2.6% plus $0.10 as opposed to Square’s usual 2.75%. Manually entered credit card payments will be charged Square’s keyed-in rate of 3.5% plus $0.15. Square offers a number of optional hardware add-ons like a cash drawer ($249) and a barcode scanner ($119). Square Terminal’s reduced processing fee may justify the cost of paying for an expensive piece of proprietary hardware, but merchants will need to make this judgment based on their individual needs.

Square Underwriting Process

Although Square’s simple 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. Merchants subsequently have no idea how to recover their withheld funds and are forced to wait up to 180 days for a payout. This policy, which is the topic of hundreds of public complaints, is unfortunately part of the processing service that comes bundled with the Square Terminal.

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Response from Square Terminal

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Square Terminal Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints 2200+
Live Customer Support Active Merchants Only
Most Common Complaint Fund Holds

Rave Tech Reviews

Square’s products often receive praise for their sleek design, ease of use, and reasonable cost. For smaller merchants in need of an all-in-one credit card terminal, Square Terminal provides a wide array of integrations and features. 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. Mobile capability is also a big plus for merchants who seek a gentle transition from traditional registers to a cloud-based service like Square.

Limited Customer Support

Square’s biggest drawback is that it offers only limited live customer support to merchants. Active Square users can contact Square 24/7, 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.

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Response from Square Terminal

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Square Terminal BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 1,162
Billing & Collection Complaints 485
Advertising & Sales Complaints 177
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 20
Delivery Complaints 67

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.

Over 1,900 Complaints

As of this update, the Better Business Bureau is reporting an “A+” rating for Square despite 1,911 complaints filed in the last 36 months. This complaint total is up from the company’s total at the time of our last update (1,681), which may indicate that Square’s BBB complaint total could increase further. This follows an increase 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.

Square BBB Complaint Breakdown

Of the complaint total, 1,162 are regarding problems with service, 485 with billing and collection disputes, 67 with delivery problems, 177 with advertising and sales issues, and 20 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 270 complaints, while the remaining 1,641 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final assessment from the merchant.

What Merchants Say

Square has also received 315 informal user reviews through the BBB, 16 of which were positive in tone and 299 of which were negative in tone. One recent review describes unavailable customer support:

They do not have a real customer service you cannot talk to anybody through telephone only emails and they ignore your emails for days and days they charge your bank for sending money and take the money immediately but they have no way to help you access your account if you lose a phone number? Provided them with all the legal information and still no legitimate help on how I can get my money

Merchants who wish to avoid scenarios like this one may be better served by a top-rated processor for great customer service.

A “C” Performance Overall

Considering the company’s high complaint count, rapid growth, and complaint responses, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C” for the purposes of this review.

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Response from Square Terminal

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

Total Disclosure

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

Unaddressed Issues

Despite its transparency, Square does have two major shortcomings: its restricted 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 specific issues. This can be described as either a marketing issue or a service issue. Since Square fund holds and customer support are generally unrelated to the Square Terminal product itself, they will not count against the company in this review.

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Response from Square Terminal

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Square Terminal Marketing Example

Square Terminal

Our Opinion of Square Terminal

Great Standalone Device, Average Payment Processing

Square Terminal rates as an average merchant account payment product according to our criteria. If Square Terminal was exclusively rated based on its hardware and software capabilities, the product would score much higher. Unfortunately, it is inextricably tied to Square’s payment processing services. Square is a very convenient payment option with competitive pricing for many small businesses, but its lack of full customer support and its fund holding policies have lowered its score since the day it was launched. Until the company corrects these deficiencies, we will continue to rank it below the best merchant account providers.

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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.

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1 Review Leave Your Review for Square Terminal Below

  1. I am a merchant. My chargeback is for $3,000.

    I don’t even think they did a dispute with the credit card company. This is what they wrote: Keep in mind that the disputed payment must fall completely within the $250 monthly coverage limit to be eligible for Square Chargeback Protection.

    Unfortunately we do not offer partial coverage. We also do not have the full number associated with the payment card, that information is encrypted meaning that the same information available to you is the same information we have.

    This post will help: How to Fight Chargebacks and Win


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