Square Review

A reliable payment method with impressive features for future growth, ideal if you are a small business right now but have big plans to scale up.

Simon Childs
February 16, 2022
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OVERALL RATING: Best for Scaling Up

We’ve tested Square’s features to see how they match up against other point of sale systems.  We have all the information you need to decide for yourself whether Square is right for you and your business.

Who is Square best suited for? Perfect for small businesses who want a reliable payment method with impressive features for future growth. 


+ Predictable flat-rate pricing with no monthly fees

+ Great for businesses who want to scale up


- High fees for large businesses

Square by PayPal Review Summary

Before we tackle the Square review, let’s have a quick look at who Square are. 

Square is a payment providing company based in California, USA. Jack Dorsey, who also founded Twitter, set up the business in 2009, and the company launched its first product in 2010.

The company’s central vision was to give any business a way to accept any size card payment with just a mobile phone and the Square Card Reader. The Reader plugs directly into a phone's headphone jack to take payments via the Square app on the move.

After Square’s early success, the company moved on to create its own Point of Sale (POS) system, which has been successful and widely implemented.

Is Square right for your startup or small business?  Read our impartial, honest review to find out.

How does the Square payment process work?

The US-based company has built a strong reputation for speed, security and customer service since launching its products in the UK in 2017. 

Square's POS system is easy to set up, free to install and available from the App Store and Google Play. It takes a few minutes to create an account to try out the software before committing to buying any hardware from Square.

Looking for  card reader for your small business? Square off customers chip and pin options, contactless and mobile pay options. Ideal for a range of small businesses.
A range of card payment options supported by Square

Square charges

Similar to other payment providers like SumUp and Zettle, Square doesn't charge its users setup or monthly fees. Instead, it takes 1.75% of every transaction. For example, if you took a payment of £100, Square would take £1.75 as a processing fee.

You can also accept payments online or over the phone using Square's hardware, which incurs a 2.5% fee. Square does not require any minimum time commitment from businesses wanting to use their services, and all card payments arrive in your account between 1 and 3 working days.

Square setup process

The setup process for Square is reasonably straightforward. Once you've registered online, Square asks for some banking details, which take about a week to verify and fully set up. As soon as your account is authorised, the company sends you your card reader, which arrives within 2 or 3 working days.

Once the card reader arrives, you'll need to download and set up the app to start taking card payments immediately. The setup process requires no technical knowledge whatsoever.

Overall, Square is a favourite among businesses with online stores, as the system integrates easily with swathes of eCommerce software and web builders like Wix. 

Square hardware options

Square has an array of highly functional, well-designed card readers and POS hardware. The company also has various third party equipment available that integrates with Square's POS hardware.

Most of the Square branded hardware works with other companies' POS systems. You can buy Square's hardware like printers and scanners individually or as part of a bundle.

Below, we've covered in detail the essential hardware Square sells.

Square reader

Square reader - the all in one payment terminal ideal for small businesses
All in one payment terminal by Square

Square takes its name from the shape of this small, minimalist, glossy white card reader. Square's pocket-sized card reader does appear simpler than its competitors, but it has all the same functions. 

At first glance, the reader appears to lack a pin pad. However, the card reader allows customers to enter their PIN on a mobile device with the app installed. While some may find it annoying to need two separate devices to accept card payments, it's a reasonable sacrifice to take payments from anywhere in the UK with a mobile internet connection.

The Square card reader doesn't require a contract or monthly minimum spend to use. Instead, Square charges users a flat 1.75% processing fee on every transaction. For example, if you took a £100 payment, Square would charge you a £1.75 processing fee.

Unfortunately, the Square reader doesn't allow for card swipes, which would have meant the Reader was much bulkier. If your business desperately needs to accept card swipes, there is a separate device available.

The Square reader can accept all the usual card providers like Visa, MasterCard and Amex, as well as Apple, Android and Samsung Pay. Its battery life usually lasts an entire business day, even with heavy use, which is about average for a mobile card reader.  

Square terminal

The Square Terminal is the company's premium card payment machine. The Terminal is larger and more functional than the Square Reader, letting you manage items, take payments and print receipts. Similar to the Square Reader, the Terminal lets your customers pay in all the usual ways, including chip and PIN, mobile apps like Apple and Google pay as well as contactless card payments.

Unlike the Square reader, the Terminal has a screen so customers can input their pin with ease, rather than needing to enter it on a tablet or smartphone.  

Square stand

The Square stand turns any iPad into a fully functional, great looking till.   It's readily apparent from the white, sleek design that the Square Stand was designed with Apple products in mind. The Stand comes with a Square Reader and a charging dock, so as soon as you set it up, you're ready to start taking payments.

The Stand comes with additional features like an extra-long power cable for the stand to plug it in anywhere, as well as a swivel feature to quickly turn the screen around for customers to enter their PIN on the iPad. The Stand also charges your iPad, so you'll never need to go hunting for a cable or constantly move the tablet on and off charge.

Square designed the stand to work with any iPad, iPad Air or iPad Pro released in or after 2019.

Square register

The Square Register is the company’s premium offering. It’s an all in one till for businesses seeking maximum functionality straight out of the box.  

Unlike most other tills, the Square Register has two displays. The larger screen faces you, and the second, smaller screen is for your customers and shows their purchases. Customers can put their card into the reader and enter their PIN on the screen. The register costs £599.

Square app

So, how does Square payment app work?  Square has one of the best and most intuitive POS systems of any card payment provider. The Square POS software lets you input all your products and manage your inventory, sales, records, and take payments with ease.  

The software requires some time to set up initially, as you have to create each product one by one, then file them into groups and categories, as well as set up individual employee accounts.

Similar to other POS systems, the software comes with a range of valuable reports like daily profit summaries, sales figures arranged by item or group and employee productivity summaries.

The POS system also integrates with various third-party software providers, which helps businesses integrate software from many different companies.

Square for restaurants

Square also offers an all-in-one POS system designed especially for hospitality venues. Although it’s called 'restaurants', the company clarifies this POS is for any hospitality business.

Square Restaurants has an array of features not available in the standard POS that are incredibly useful for hospitality businesses, such as:

  • Floor plans, where you can assign time limits to each table, help you turn your tables faster

  • Menu Management, helping you manage your products by putting top selling items on the front page and quickly editing the menu, then applying the changes to every restaurant location

  • An Online Store, which synchronises with Square Restaurants so your customers can order food for home delivery or in-store pickup

  • Bulk additions, lets you quickly make extensive changes to your menu, like updating tax rates or modifying items in bulk

  • Advances Discounts, letting you quickly offer discounted prices and deals in seconds, like a happy hour or lunchtime special

  • Order Manager lets you manage all your orders from a single system, even if your customers order online or in-store. All your delivery orders from Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat appear on the same screen

  • Table Management, which easily lets you customise your floor plan, splitting it into sections by dragging and dropping, and monitoring table timings that integrate with your bookings system

The system also includes a range of other valuable features like automatic service charges, digital kitchen tickets, item availability tracking, and close-of-day reports, all of which contribute to streamlined, efficient restaurant service.

The basic software is free, but the Plus and Premium versions start at around £69 per month.

Square for retail

The Square Retail POS system is, as the name suggests, specifically for retail businesses.

In short, Square For Retail is a POS system that lets you efficiently manage your inventory across multiple locations, including online, while tracking sales trends using the reports feature and managing your employees and profits.

The system has a range of features that help retail businesses, particularly those with an active eCommerce website, as the system easily integrates with online stores.

Square for Retail has a free version, but the Plus and Premium versions start at £69 per month.

Who is Square best suited for?

Square suits businesses of all shapes and sizes, especially restaurants and retail companies that would benefit from Square's POS and accompanying hardware features.

Why Square is the best

We like Square because of its transparent pricing structure and high levels of customer support. There are loads of third-party integrations which allows you to scale your point of sale package as your business grows.

Why Square is not so good

Although the possible integrations ensure Square is scalable, this doesn't come with additional costs. Basically, the more features that you need the more expensive your package becomes!

Square pricing

Like many of the other card reader payment processing solutions out there, Square Point of Sale software is free to use, there are no setup fees or monthly fees, only pay when you make a transaction. 

If your business is large then it may be good to know that they can create custom pricing packages for businesses that process more than £200K in card sales annually.

The verdict?

Overall, Square offers businesses an effortless way to take card payments and control their business with leading POS software & useful integrations. 

Unlike its competitors, Square has a solution for nearly every conceivable business need, particularly for those in the hospitality sector. 

Alternative payment solutions

Shopify POS



Square FAQ’s

How to take payment with Square reader?

Firstly set up the Square app on your phone or tablet.  Secondly, make sure your reader has connected to your device.  Then simply add items that you want to process through the transaction into the app and tap charge to prepare the Square reader for the payment. Simple!

How long to set up Square reader to take payment?

It only takes a few minutes to set up the Square app and reader. 

Does the Square credit card reader need WIFI?

Yes, you cant use offline mode with the Square reader it requires an internet connection to process payments.

Is the Square Card Reader free to use?

You have to purchase the hardware (the card reader) and download the free app.  After this, there are no fixed fees only a transaction fee for each sale.

Can I add Square payment to my website?

Square doesn’t have a simple way to integrate their payment solution onto your website, however, they have Square Online, an online store that is free to launch.