This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Square is a free point-of-sale (POS) system and payment processor many small businesses use because it’s an affordable, all-in-one solution. Although it once dominated the market, many Square competitors now offer comparable products and services. Depending on your business, you may find better functionality or a lower price point using an alternative.
The best Square competitors are:
- Clover: Best Square alternative for low-cost, industry-specific POS
- PayPal Zettle: Best alternative for PayPal users with storefronts
- Helcim: Best discounted payment processing for large-volume sales
- Stripe: Best Square competitor for online payment processing
- SumUp: Best for occasional sellers or low-ticket sales
- Lightspeed: Best for managing large inventory
- Shopify: Best Square competitor for online retail businesses
- Payanywhere: Best Square alternative for small, mobile restaurants
Top Square Competitors Compared
Online Processing Fee
In-Person Processing Fee
Mobile Card Reader
$0 to $74.95
3.5% plus 10 cents
2.3% plus 10 cents to 2.6% plus 10 cents
$0 to $30
2.59% plus 49 cents
2.29% plus 9 cents
Interchange plus 0.2% to 0.5% plus 10 cents to 25 cents
Interchange plus 0.1% to 0.3% plus 5 cents to 8 cents
$0 to $165
2.9% plus 30 cents
Starts at 2.7% plus 5 cents
2.9% plus 15 cents to 3.25% plus 15 cents
$89 to $269
2.6% plus 30 cents
2.6% plus 10 cents
$29 to $299
2.4% plus 30 cents to 2.9% plus 30 cents
2.4% to 2.7%
3.49% plus 19 cents
Clover: Best Square Alternative for Fully Integrated, Industry-specific POS
Clover is a top Square alternative because it offers a lot of the same features and benefits. It features an advanced and all-in-one POS and payment processor, plus customer loyalty programs, employee scheduling, and proprietary hardware. We also highly recommend Clover if you want a Square alternative for affordable iOS-based credit card readers with payment apps.
Unlike Square software, which only works with Square Payments, Clover can be purchased through many different merchant account providers. So, it’s best for businesses wanting to choose their own payment processor or with an existing merchant account. It comes with a monthly fee that businesses should keep in mind when budget planning.
PayPal Zettle: Best Square Competitor for PayPal Users With Storefronts
Did you know?
PayPal payments are now accepted at physical shops like Walmart, Best Buy, and Home Depot. But you don’t have to be a big name or have deep pockets to start accepting PayPal in your store. All you need is a free PayPal Business account.
Zettle uses PayPal for its payment processing and provides a POS system for tablets or mobile. Startups can get a PIN pad card reader and begin accepting payments immediately or purchase an entire POS system. The software is free to use, with affordable processing rates, and allows you to accept PayPal payment options in-store. If you often have customers asking if you accept PayPal at checkout, then PayPal Zettle is your best alternative to Square.
Helcim: Best Discounted Payment Processing for Large-volume Sales
Helcim offers the cheapest payment processing for small businesses, making it an ideal alternative. It comes with ecommerce and POS tools, multichannel features, and built-in invoicing and recurring billing tools, but you may find it lacking in terms of back-office integration.
Helcim has also recently upgraded to include multicurrency payment processing features, so you can receive international sales in your local currency at no extra cost. Add to that its zero monthly fees and automated volume discounts and Helcim is a solid option for growing businesses and business-to-business (B2B) retailers with an excellent recurring payments platform.
Stripe: Best Square Competitor for Online Payment Processing
Stripe, which started as an online-only platform but has since released Stripe Terminal to accommodate in-person payments as well, is a solid Square alternative to process online payments for businesses of all sizes. Because it is so popular, many ecommerce platforms and website builders have Stripe Payments built right into their software.
Customization is Stripe’s key feature. It offers open API software that allows businesses with the technical resources to build a branded checkout experience, making it a top payment gateway. It is also our leading B2B payment solution because of its compatibility with a variety of payment types and billing processes.
SumUp: Best for Occasional Sellers & Low-ticket Sales
Not many competitors can compare with Square’s mobile payment solution, but SumUp comes close. It is a payment processor with a free payment app and a wide range of very affordable mobile card readers that allow you to access more payment processing features as you upgrade.
Like Square, SumUp does not charge any monthly fees and transaction rates are competitive. SumUp also does not charge extra for accepting payments from foreign credit cards, making it a strong solution for businesses that thrive in seasonal tourism. However, this provider’s ecommerce tools are limited, so if you need this feature, consider Shopify instead.
Lightspeed: Best Square Alternative for Managing Large Inventory
Lightspeed is the best alternative for businesses that have outgrown Square’s inventory management capabilities. It tops our lists of the most recommended POS inventory systems for its advanced inventory features that can handle multiple revenue streams. For its restaurant software, Lightspeed’s inventory tools make it an excellent choice for quick service restaurants.
Essentially, Lightspeed sets the standard for inventory management. So, if you’re looking for a POS that has greater functionality and granularity than Square’s, or have a retail or restaurant business, then Lightspeed is your best option.
Shopify: Best Square Competitor for Online Retail Businesses
Shopify is the Square competitor with the most robust ecommerce offering, making it our top recommendation for the best ecommerce platforms. Small businesses can set up and customize an online store and use Shopify’s payment processing and POS tools to build a well-rounded retail command center.
The provider also includes integrated social selling, local delivery, and curbside pickup options. In comparison to Square, it offers more advanced and comprehensive features at a higher cost. It’s also our top-ranking multichannel POS system for native online businesses.
Payanywhere: Best Square Alternative for Small, Mobile Restaurants
Payanywhere is an affordable payment processor with built-in, all-in-one POS. Like Square, it is set up to cater to smaller businesses with low-volume sales―ideally those processing under $5,000 per month―with an average transaction value of below $20. Payanywhere offers a wider range of mobile card reader options and even lets you use your mobile device to scan barcodes, which can help you save on hardware costs.
While Payanywhere is not a full-fledged restaurant POS system, it does provide restaurant-specific payment processing features, such as split checks, open tabs, and customizable tips functions. Combined with its basic register, inventory management tools, and offline payment function, Payanywhere is a viable Square alternative for small, mobile, quick-service restaurants.
There are many Square competitors to choose from when it comes to selecting POS and payment processing solutions for your business. The first step is to determine what your main sales platform, such as online, in-person, or multichannel, is and which features are most important to you like inventory management, marketing, and employee management. From there, you should be able to narrow your options down.
Though there are scenarios when you would want to use a Square alternative, it is our top-recommended POS and payment processing solution. It has no monthly fee, is easy to set up, and is super simple to use. It’s a great fit for new businesses, mobile businesses, and businesses with small average transactions. Plus, you are never locked into any long-term contract. Create a free Square account today.