Square is a payments, point-of-sale (POS), and business management tool for small businesses. Square charges a flat-rate payment processing fee, and businesses can use Square’s POS app for free. Additional features, such as marketing and payroll, are available for a monthly fee. Square offers an affordable solution that can be customized with different features.
How Square Pricing Works
Square is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that does not require contracts or upfront payments for any of their software or payment processing tools. Instead, Square is billed monthly and on a month-to-month basis. Payments processed with Square have a flat fee deducted from your transactions. Visit Square to get a free account.
Square Pricing & Square Fees at a Glance
Square has a very simple fee structure. Square POS is free to use, and you can add on extra features as needed for a small fee. Square Payments has no monthly or startups costs—you just pay transaction fees as you go.
Here is a list of all Square fees:
Square Payment Processing Fees
- In-person and mobile card payments: 2.75%*
- Online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction
- Keyed-in and invoice payments: 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction
*Note: Square offers a lower processing rate for businesses that purchase Square Register or Square Terminal hardware, or Square Retail or Square Restaurant software.
Square Software Fees
- Square POS: $0 to free to download and use
- Square Retail: $60
- Square Restaurants: $60
- Square Loyalty: From $45 per month
- Square Marketing: From $15 per month
- Ecommerce: From $8 per month
Square Hardware Fees
- Magstripe card reader: First reader free, additional $10
- Chip card reader: $49
- iPad stand: $199
- Square Register: $999 or $49 per month for 24 months
- Square Terminal: $399 or $37 per month for 12 months
Note: Square has recently changed its flat-rate fee of 2.75% to 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction. We will update the pricing and our ranking of providers in the next update of this article.
Who Square Is Right For
Square’s low cost and easy-to-use programs make it a great fit for new and startup businesses, businesses like market vendors and food trucks that need mobile payment processing, and cafes and small brick-and-mortar businesses. Square’s flat-rate payment processing fees also make it a great fit for any business that has average transactions below $20. It’s completely free to create a Square account and test the features for yourself.
Square Fees for Payment Processing
From mobile and in-store sales to online selling and invoicing, Square ties all of your business’ payment processing needs into one tidy package. Here’s a quick overview of everything Square offers and the costs involved, including the types of payments you can process, the equipment you might need, and other services.
Square Payment Processing Fees
|Payment Need||Square Payments Fee|
Mobile payments & in-store POS sales
|2.75% per transaction|
Online store sales & online invoice payments
|2.9% + 30 cents per transaction|
|Virtual Terminal & Recurring Payments|
Phone orders, automatic & keyed-in payments
|3.5% + 15 cents per transaction|
Whatever payment methods you use for your business—in-store, online, or virtual terminal—you’ll enjoy the same core features and services:
- No monthly fee to accept and process credit cards
- All payments and sales are tracked together in your Square dashboard
- Accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB, and UnionPay
- Same rate for all cards and card types: debit, credit, prepaid, rewards, and corporate
- Deposits made within one to two business days
- Instant deposit available for an additional fee of 1%
- Chargeback protection free for sellers and covers disputes up to a total of $250 per month
- Custom pricing for sellers with annual revenues over $250,000 and average ticket size over $15
Why Do Square Payment Processing Fees Differ?
Did you notice above that some payment types charge a higher fee than others? Square’s payment processing fees are based on how the sale is made: in-person, over the phone, or online. Some have higher fees than others based on the risk involved. Square also offers lower processing fees for customers who opt to purchase Square Register or Square Terminal hardware or Square Retail or Restaurant Software. Here’s a closer look at what these risks are, and how they apply to your business:
In-person & Mobile Square Fees Explained
In-person sales where you physically handle the buyer’s card are called card-present transactions. Card-present payments have lower fees than online payments since you can check the customer’s ID against the card, creating a lower fraud risk. These transactions can be made via:
- Swipe: Swipe the card’s magnetic strip through a card reader.
- Dip: Insert a chip card into a chip card reader; this is considered a more secure transaction than a swipe.
- Tap: These are contactless transactions made using mobile wallets like Android Pay or Apple Pay.
The processing rate is the same for all card-present transactions. If you are using Square’s free POS and any of the standalone swipe or chip readers, the card-present processing fee is 2.75%.
However, businesses that purchase extra Square hardware and software products pay the following processing rates:
- Square Register: 2.5% plus 10 cents per transaction
- Square Terminal: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction
- Square Retail: 2.5% plus 10 cents per transaction
- Square Restaurant: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction
Online & Virtual Terminal Square Fees Explained
Payments, where you aren’t face-to-face with the buyer, are called card-not-present (CNP) transactions. These transactions include virtual terminal and online store sales, as well as online invoices and recurring payments. Card-not-present transactions have higher fees than card-present sales because you can’t check the customer’s ID against the card, creating a higher fraud risk. You’ll see these transactions called:
- Keyed-in payments: This is where you type a customer’s card into the virtual terminal on your Square account dashboard. This is handy for taking credit card payments over the phone for orders and invoice payments.
- Card-on-file payments: These are automatic or recurring payments made when your customer gives permission to keep their card on file for regular payments.
- Online payments: These are orders placed in your online store or invoices paid online.
Square has two different processing fees for card-not-present transactions, and we list those below. But the good news is that these types of payments have no equipment costs since they all are processed using your free Square account dashboard.
Square Online Payment Types & Fees
|CNP Payment Type|
Square Card Reader Fees
Mobile payments and in-store sales require credit card readers to accept payments. Square has a variety of readers that let you swipe, insert, or tap cards to process payments. Each of these work on smartphones or tablets using Square’s free point-of-sale (POS) app.
Square Mobile Payment Readers
- Square magstripe reader: First reader free, $10 for additional
- Square mobile chip reader: $35
- Chip and eWallet payments: $49, optional phone case $49; comes with a free magstripe reader
Square In-Store Payment Readers
- Chip & eWallet payments: $49, countertop dock $29; comes with a free magstripe reader
- Square stand for contactless and chip: $199 or $18 per month for 12 months; iPad not included
Square Full Register Systems
- Square terminal: $399 or $37 per month for 12 months
- Square register: $999 or $49 per month for 24 months
Square Reader can be secured to a smartphone for mobile payments or docked on a countertop for in-store sales.
Square Software Fees
Square has grown from a payment processing solution into a cutting-edge platform that supports your entire business, offering a slick, free point-of-sale system, online store, plus a full suite of business, customer, inventory, and marketing management tools. Many features are free but some have added costs.
Square Business & Sales Management Features
These are the basic operating features that keep your business running smoothly and help you stay on top of all your sales activities and data. All of the features below, except for Square Appointments, are free and included with a standard Square account.
Square Business & Sales Features
|Square Dashboard & Dashboard Mobile App||Gives you access to all aspects of your Square business in one convenient dashboard|
|Point-of-Sale App||Allows you to accept mobile, retail, and online payments within the mobile app|
|Location Management||Manage multiple locations from your single Square dashboard|
|Business Analytics||Run reports on activity by sales, category, item, location, employee, date, and more|
|Online Store||Launch a fully integrated online store from your Square inventory list and process all orders with your Square dashboard|
|Invoices||Generate invoices for print or email and accept online payments from customers|
|Recurring Payments||Generate recurring invoices automatically and process recurring card-on-file payments|
|Square Appointments||Online appointment booking system from $30 per month|
Square Customer Relationship Management & Marketing Features
Square brings all of your key marketing and customer relations tasks under one roof and integrates it with all of your customer data. You can craft email campaigns that are fine-tuned to grab customers’ attention and bring in more sales, plus use feedback and loyalty programs to keep your name top-of-mind.
Square CRM & Marketing Features
|Customer Directory||Stores customer profiles and activity for sales tracking, email marketing, etc.|
|Square Marketing||Create customized and segmented email marketing campaigns using your customer directory, integrates with Facebook|
|Feedback||Manage customer issues, issue coupons and refunds, respond to feedback, and track customer satisfaction ratings and trends|
|Square Loyalty||Mobile app-based Digital rewards loyalty program based on customer activity|
|Gift Cards||Physical gift cards that your customers can purchase and that you track within your Square point-of-sale system|
|EGift Cards||Online gift cards customers can purchase through your website|
Square Employee Management & Payroll Features
Square’s Employee Management feature lets you easily manage key employee activities including system access, role assignments, and timekeeping, even across multiple locations. Plus, the added Square Payroll service fully integrates to simplify all of your payroll tasks.
Square Employee Management Features
|Employee Management||Easily manage employee passcodes, timecards, tips, and roles across all Square systems||$5/month per employee|
|Square Payroll||Payroll services to handle all payroll reporting activities, paychecks, tax payments, timecard data, and time off, plus pay contractors||$25/month + $5/month per employee|
Square brings a lot of functionality to the table, and many valuable features are included at no cost in your free Square account. Since everything integrates seamlessly, you can easily add services as your growth demands. Best of all, every feature ties into your existing data the minute you turn it on.
Square Retail Pricing
Square Retail is an upgraded version of the free Square POS with extra features specifically designed for managing a retail store, such as advanced inventory management, sales profit calculators, and employee management. Square Retail is $60 per month. Like the standard Square POS, Square Retail has great user reviews. When you subscribe to Square Retail, you also receive a discounted payment processing rate of 2.5% plus 10 cents per transaction.
Square Restaurant Pricing
Square Restaurant is an upgraded version of Square’s free POS with extra features designed for managing a restaurant, such as menu creation, table management, tons of customization options, and order delivery add-on. Square Restaurant is $60 per month per location and register. Additional registers are $40 per month. Square Restaurant offers a discounted payment processing rate of 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction. Visit our Square Restaurant Ultimate Guide for more information.
Square Ecommerce Pricing
Square has a partnership with Weebly so businesses can create an ecommerce site with Square payments for a little as $8 per month. Your Weebly ecommerce site is integrated with your Square dashboard, so that inventory and customer data is synced across all platforms. When you sell on a Weebly site, Square’s payment processing fee is a flat 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction
Square Marketing Pricing
Square offers a marketing add-on for the free Square POS system that includes email and Facebook marketing with custom campaigns that can be targeted to specific customers. Square Marketing starts at $15 per month. But Square offers a free trial for their marketing feature. Click for a free trial.
Square Loyalty Program Fees
Square Loyalty is a point-based rewards program that uses the customer directory that is built into the free Square POS. Square Loyalty tracks customers based on their payment method once they sign up. Businesses can customize whether shoppers are rewarded per visit or per dollar spent. Businesses also choose when and how many rewards are offered in the program. Square Loyalty starts at $45 per month and includes up to 500 loyalty visits. Like Square Marketing, Square Loyalty also has a 30-day free trial. Try Square for free.
How to Process Payment Using Square
To process payments using Square, the first step is to sign up for a free Square account. Then, if you are selling in-person, your free card reader will arrive in the mail. You can also purchase additional readers. Set up your products in the Square Dashboard, download the free Square POS app, and you can start selling.
For online payments, you can connect Square to your existing ecommerce site with a plug-in. Or, you can create an ecommerce site using Square and Weebly for as little as $8 per month. For more details, read our full guide on how to use Square Payments.
15 Square Alternatives
|Square Alternative||Good For:|
|PayPal||Low-cost payment processing|
|Clover||All-in-one payment processing & POS for brick-and-mortar stores|
|Lightspeed||High-volume or growing brick-and-mortar retailers|
|Loyverse||Small businesses wanting a free POS with loyalty program|
|ShopKeep||Small brick-and-mortar businesses wanting a tablet POS with detailed inventory management|
|Stripe||Small ecommerce businesses wanting a custom online checkout|
|TouchBistro||iPad POS for restaurants|
|Fattmerchant||High-volume businesses wanting affordable payment processing|
|Intuit (QuickBooks) POS & GoPayment||POS & mobile payments for businesses that use QuickBooks|
|Vend||Brick-and-mortar retailers wanting an iPad POS|
|Dharma||Established brick-and-mortar businesses wanting low-cost payment processing|
|Springboard||Retail businesses wanting a POS that incorporates foot traffic data|
|Chase Mobile Checkout||Chase business customers wanting a mobile payment processing app|
|Payline||High-risk businesses wanting affordable payment processing|
Square is best known for its white, square-shaped mobile card reader and payment processing service. But Square has grown into a platform that supports your entire business, including payment processing, business management, online selling, marketing, and much more.
The nice thing about Square is that with it, you can easily craft a full sales and business management solution on any budget. Core features are free, and you only pay the Square fees for credit card processing, certain processing equipment, and optional advanced features. So with Square, you only pay for what you actually need. Visit Square to sign up for a free account.