All in all, Square provides a robust system by which any individual or business can easily accept card payments. Above all, the system is highly secure and easy to use, although it does require a little time to personalize the POS for your business needs.
Certainly, for small businesses and sole traders that require a simple, clear cut system by which to take card payments, Square offers a straightforward option that compares well with its competitors.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Low cost card reader
There’s no tie in contract period or fixed monthly fees
Compared to its competitors it has the fastest pay-out to your bank account
Has a higher transaction fee to one of its competitors (SumUp)
It can’t be used abroad
It’s necessary to hand the phone or tablet to the customer for PIN entry. This could be a cause for a security concern.
Square Reader – Full Review
The Square card reader is a combination card reader and app that allows anyone to easily accept card and mobile payments without the need to set up a merchant account.
Furthermore, its simplicity of use, invoicing function, flat rate fee and affordability have made it a popular choice for individuals and businesses alike.
In this review we take a look at the functionality, costs, its competitors, pros and cons, and important aspects such as security and ease of use.
It turns out, SumUp charges a flat fee that’s slightly less than that of Square, at 1.69%. However, they hold onto your money for longer, paying out to your bank account in 2-3 days.
iZettle charges the same 1.75% fee per transaction as Square and deposits funds in 1-2 days.
How does Square work?
One of the biggest plus points about Square is its simplicity. The Point of Sale app is the heart of the product, and can be downloaded to your phone or tablet.
You’ll be glad to know it’s easily customizable to your business needs, and your customer can pay via contactless, chip and pin or a mobile payment method. You also have the ability to create and send invoices and to fully integrate the system with your eCommerce store.
And one more thing, the funds are debited from the client’s account and deposited in your bank account the next working day.
Other features include:
Create either digital or printed receipts
Easily customise your Point of Sale with simple drag and drop
Store payment details for regular customers
Can be used at multiple locations with a single account
Square have created the following video that gives an overview about how the system works.
How to accept payments with Square reader?
It’s simple. Payments can be accepted in multiple ways:
Chip and pin
Mobile payments (Apple Pay & Google Pay)
Via an invoice either online or in person. You can also set up recurring charges and save card details for repeat clients
Take card details over the phone through the computer based virtual terminal
eCommerce payments through the Square online store service or integrating with your current eCommerce store provider
Integrate for in-app payments for both iOS and Android
Does Square accept online payments?
Yes. You can process these in multiple ways according to your business needs:
In addition, you have the choice of creating a custom experience that matches the rest of your website by utilising the Square Payment Form and Transactions API.
Or you can integrate the pre-built Square Checkout, or connect using plug-ins for existing integrations, such as OpenCart, Magento and WooCommerce.
And what credit cards does it accept?
Square accepts most UK and international chip or magnetic stripe cards.
The following card types are accepted:
Be aware that Square doesn’t currently accept Union Pay, JCB or Discover cards.
What if I don’t have Wi Fi or internet?
Your Square reader communicates with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. The payment is processed over Wi Fi or internet.
It’s not possible to take card payments whilst offline, although you can accept cash payments. The system will store these and sync when back online.
What about the all-important issue of security?
The complete Square system is designed to protect both you and your customers. All information is encrypted and submitted securely to the Square servers. The company meets the Level 1 PCI Data Security Standards.
No payment card data is retained
Encryption is ensured throughout the complete transaction
No remote connectivity is permitted to the Square app
Requires two-factor authentication and password controls for admin access
All access is strictly logged
Security settings are constantly reviewed and updates and patches installed in a timely fashion
Getting started with Square
Square is designed to be very simple to use and you can be up and started within minutes.
You’re required to set up an account, which takes around 5 minutes, and to download the Point of Sale app to your phone or mobile device.
This is available for both Android and iOS. Once this is done you’re able to begin taking payment via all major debit and credit cards. The money will be deposited in your account the next working day.
Square app and other features
The app provides you with your Point of Sale, and this is the core of your system. You’ll need to spend a little time customising this to suit your individual needs. You can easily set up the products you sell grouped into categories.
✓ Choose from a list or grid overview
✓ Switch between interfaces
✓ Add individual products to your library and tap to add them to the shopping cart
✓ There’s the option to add an amount to the final bill for custom services or if an item isn’t currently in the inventory
✓ Split the bill if needed allowing partial payment via card and the rest with cash
✓ For chip and pin option, you hand the mobile device to the customer to tap their PIN into the on-screen keypad
✓ Send a receipt digitally (text or email) or print out via a connected printer
But it doesn’t stop there. Other features include the following:
✓ Simple, free refund option
✓ Set up, schedule and send invoices from the app and track payments. You can also create automatic reminders to be sent if a payment is overdue
✓ There’s the ability to create multiple employee accounts (cost of £3.00 per month per employee) so you can track different staff members, store working hours, or create timesheets
✓ Create and sell gift cards with a choice of designs (birthday, get well, thank you etc)
✓ Robust reports and analytics. These are recorded in real time so can be accessed at any time. Reports are exportable to Excel or Xero
✓ Use Square in multiple locations with a single account – ideal if you have more than one shop or point of sale. Different location transactions can be sent to separate bank accounts if needed
✓ Square provides an inventory tracker and management system. Not only does this allow you to know when items are low in stock, but you can easily analyse what is selling (and who is selling what, in the case of multiple employees).
✓ Keep tabs on open orders (ideal for the hospitality industry) and the ability for customers to add tips
What accessories are available?
The following accessories are currently available to purchase (all prices are ex VAT). Some are more useful than others, and their value will depend on individual requirements. Let’s look at it in detail:
mPOP Cash Drawer and Receipt Printer
mPOP Receipt Printer Paper (20 rolls)
Infinite Peripherals Case for Square Reader
Dock for Square Reader
OtterBox universe Case for iPhone 6/6S
Heckler Windfall Stand for Apple iPad Air, Air 2 & Pro 9.7
USB Wall Charger
Printer-Driven Cash Drawer
Ethernet Receipt Printer
Receipt Printer Paper (25 rolls)
Can I rely on them for Customer Support?
Square customer support does, unfortunately, follow the what’s become the standard industry norm of trying to get you NOT to call them.
When using the system for the first time you get prompts that walk you through the process.
And whilst Square is rather self-explanatory to use, this is a pretty good feature.Of course, there are the ubiquitous customer support pages that cover most FAQs.
For anything else you can get help via email or by phone. However, this is only available Monday to Friday, from 09:00 – 17:00. Run into an issue outside of these hours and you’ll have to wait until the next working day.
Phone number (Sales Department)
0800 098 8099
Yes, via contact form
Online Help Center
Monday to Friday,
09:00 – 17:00
What are the alternatives to Square in UK
When it comes to real alternatives to Square, SumUp and iZettle are the two closest competitors.
Accepts more card options, including Diners Club, Discover and Union Pay
Telephone customer support is available on a Saturday
Has a lower card transaction fee, at 1.69%
Can be used overseas
Keypad is on the reader, unlike that of Square’s where you have to hand the customer the mobile device to enter it
Slower to deposit funds in your bank account. Takes up to 3 working days
Charges a higher rate for Virtual Terminal (customer not present) payments
Square provides a robust system by which any individual or business can easily accept card payments. The system is highly secure and easy to use, although it does require a little time to personalise the POS for your business needs.