This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
What We Recommend Square POS For
I’ve used Square POS to process sales and manage inventory for a small business. In addition to free POS software, Square has a free online store and web building tool, team management features, and social media management tools. Paid add-ons include payroll and benefits processing, marketing, and customer loyalty. Few other systems offer such an inclusive feature set or so many products for free.
In particular, Square POS is best for:
- Mobile sales: Square is our top-recommended mobile POS app, earning a 4.66 out of 5. This means it’s a great fit for market vendors, pop-up shop owners, and sole proprietors—like makeup artists and handypersons—who need an on-the-go solution.
- Businesses on a budget: Square is completely free to use. And, unlike many of the other forever-free software out there, it has feature-rich plans you can upgrade to as your business grows. In our evaluation of free POS software, Square earned the highest score at 4.51 out of 5. Free software with no contracts or minimums means Square is also a great option for seasonal or temporary businesses.
- Businesses wanting an iPad POS: We ranked Square the best iPad POS system, with a 4.5 out of 5, making it ideal for processing transactions on the sales floor.
- Multichannel sales: Square’s synced free POS and free online store software earned a 3.9 out of 5 in our evaluation of multichannel POS systems. Though Shopify and Lightspeed offer more feature-rich tools, Square was by far the most affordable option.
- Brick-and-mortar vape shops: Square POS made our list of recommended vape shop POS systems, earning a score of 3.25 out of 5. As a free POS that can handle thousands of SKUs, allowing unlimited products and transactions, it offers the best solutions for small vape shops on a tight budget.
- Small coffee shops: Earning a rating of 4.5 out of 5, Square offers both a simple POS and restaurant-specific software that starts with zero monthly fees, making it one of the best solutions for budget cafe POS systems.
Square POS is also a top choice for individuals and small businesses wanting a simple payment processor. It comes with a built-in payment solution, which we recommend as the best overall merchant service for small businesses.
As Fit Small Business’ retail writer, I have also set up several Square accounts and tested the Square POS app and Dashboard many times. Based on experience, I can say Square offers one of the most intuitive systems. You can get started in minutes and easily navigate the software with no training. It is undoubtedly one of the best POS systems for small businesses.
When Square POS Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Those managing complex inventories: Though Square can handle thousands of SKUs, it’s not robust enough to handle complex needs like kitting, bundling, assembly, parts, custom orders, or work orders. And, its reporting and reordering features are limited, which can be problematic for businesses managing large inventories. Those needing these features would be better suited with Lightspeed, our top-rated POS for inventory management.
- Businesses wanting a highly customizable POS interface: If you want to build a custom solution but still need a free POS, you might be better suited with an open-source POS system.
- Food and beverage retailers: Convenience stores, grocery stores, markets, and liquor stores would be better served with an industry-specific system that can handle more complex inventories.
Square POS Overview
|Free software and online store||Limited support hours|
|Easy to use, intuitive system||Account stability issues|
|Accept payments anywhere||Does not process age-restricted products online|
|Affordable, industry-leading hardware||No purchase and vendor management tools in free plan|
Square POS Pricing
Square POS is completely free to use. The only fees are for processing card payments or adding extra features. Every new Square account also comes with a free magstripe card reader that connects to iOS or Android smartphones and tablets to accept credit card payments. In my experience, the free reader arrives fairly quickly in the mail.
However, I recommend purchasing a card reader with an EMV/chip reader as that is a more secure transaction. These readers start at $49, though there are interest-free payment plans available for qualifying purchases. See more information about Square’s hardware options below.
Overall, Square’s pricing is extremely transparent and predictable. It has flat-rate, pay-as-you-go transaction fees and month-to-month billing for software products. There are no contracts or long-term agreements, and users can add or change any add-on subscriptions at any time.
Square POS Monthly Software Fees
- Point-of-sale app: Free – Pro POS plans available for $60 per month, per location
- Online ordering and ecommerce: Free – upgrades available from $12–$72 per month
- Payroll: $35 per month plus $5 per employee
- Team management: Free – upgrade to Team Plus at $35 per month, per location
- Marketing: Starts at $15 per month for up to 500 customer contacts
- Loyalty program: Starts at $45 per month, per location, for up to 500 loyal visits
Square POS Payment Processing Fees
- Flat-rate transaction fee: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction
- Invoices: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
- Ecommerce sales: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
- Recurring billing and card-on-file transactions: 3.5% + 15 cents per transaction
- Keyed-in payments: 3.5% + 15 cents per transaction
- Volume discounts: Square will create custom pricing packages for any business processing over $250,000 in credit card sales.
Square Fee Calculator
Enter your current in-store and/or online sales volumes and average order values for an estimate on the monthly fees you would pay using Square.
If you’re ready to start using Square, check out our step-by-step guide on how to use Square to process credit cards, or learn more about Square’s merchant services features from our Square Payments review.
Square POS Hardware
The Square POS app can be downloaded and used on any iOS or Android device, and the browser-based Square Dashboard can be accessed from any computer. To use Square, you just need to connect a card reader to your smartphone or tablet
However, Square also has several full POS hardware setups available that you can use with, or instead of, a smartphone or tablet.
Square POS Features
The first step in using Square to manage your business is creating a free account on Square’s website. You can configure business settings like products, taxes, team members, payment processing, and more under the Square Dashboard. Square has a Setup Guide that will walk you through all of the major steps. I found this process to be extremely easy and intuitive. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.
Then, download the free Square POS app to start selling. Any products or settings you created in your Square Dashboard will automatically sync to your POS app. You can also adjust the settings in the app, which will sync back to your Square account. I recommend uploading inventory in bulk through Square Dashboard to save time instead of adding products individually through the app.
When you’re ready to make a sale, you can connect your free magstripe reader, purchase another kind of reader, or process the payment through an invoice or by typing in the card information. Square also has gift card features and can record cash payments. I’ve found that very little training is necessary to start selling products or accepting payments through Square POS.
If you’re ready to start using Square, create a free Square account and follow our step-by-step guide to setting up Square POS.
Square POS Modular Add-Ons
- Add and remove services and software as needed
- Month-to-month billing
- Customize to fit your business needs
- Enterprise-level businesses can work with Square to build custom plans
Square POS Ease of Use
- Phone, in-app messaging, and chat support
- Extensive resource library with FAQs and how-to articles
- Square Seller Community discussion forum
- Sign in from any computer, iOS, or Android device
- Guided in-app tutorials for getting started
- Bulk product upload and editing
- User-friendly interface
Square is an incredibly user-friendly system. Plus, there are tons of articles, blogs, videos, and community resources available. Unique support features include in-app messaging in the mobile POS app and guided step-by-step tutorials.
I know that many retail businesses and vendors operate outside of traditional business hours, and 24/7 support is available to certain customers that purchase software subscriptions or hardware. However, for free Square users, phone support isn’t always available when you need it. Square’s support hours are limited and only available to active customers, so it can be a hassle if you need to get support quickly.
Square also requires businesses to use its built-in payment processor. While the rates are competitive, they are not the lowest available, especially for high-volume sales. That said, Square does integrate well with a number of third-party software for ecommerce, inventory management, accounting, and more.
Square POS Alternatives
The best Square alternatives offer competitive pricing and all-in-one solutions for POS, payments, and ecommerce.
Best for: Multichannel retailers
Best for: Retailers with large, complex inventories and customer database
Best for: Businesses needing a simple online and international mobile payment app
Best for: Those needing an all-in-one small business solution and prefer a dedicated merchant account
Software from: $9 per month
Software from: $99 per month
Software from: $0 - free to use
Software from: $9.95 per month
Hardware from: $19
Hardware from: Quoted
Hardware from: $29
Hardware from: $29
Runs on: iOS and Android
Runs on: iPads
Runs on: iOS and Android
Runs on: iOS and Android or Clover Hardware
What Users Think of Square POS
Square is a top-rated POS system by users and critics alike. At the time of publication, the POS app has a 4.8-star rating from over 280,000 reviews in the Apple App store. On Google Play, Square POS has a 4.4 rating from more than 136,000 reviews.
At the time of publication, Square POS has earned the following scores on popular review sites:
- Software Advice: 4.66 out of 5 based on over 1,700 reviews
- G2: 4.6 out of 5 based on more than 500 reviews
Finances Online also has a Customer Satisfaction Algorithm that gathers reviews, comments, and opinions from Square POS users across the internet. According to it, Square POS has a 97% user satisfaction rating.
Here are some of the trends I noticed from reading user reviews and speaking to business owners that use Square:
Users Don’t Like
Limited/poor quality customer support
Easy to use, especially for users new to POS
Higher fees for card-on-file and keyed transactions
Flexible and seamless payment options: online ordering, contactless, curbside, and on-the-go mobile sales
Issues connecting mobile card readers
Sleek and affordable hardware
Account stability issues
Straightforward pricing and no hidden fees
After using Square POS firsthand in a retail environment, I can say it is a very intuitive system. It is really easy to create a free Square account and download the iOS or Android app to start managing inventory or processing sales immediately. Few other POS systems offer such a quick setup, especially with integrated payment processing.
Square POS also offers unbeatable value for new and small businesses or individuals looking to sell products or services. Instant setup, integrated payments, free software (including an online store), affordable and flexible hardware options, and modular add-ons make Square one of the best POS systems on the market. Visit Square to create a free account.