The Square Stand is an iPad-powered POS display with built-in card readers. We recommend it for small businesses that need an entry-level POS station.
This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
The Square Stand is an iPad enclosure that converts a simple tablet into a full-scale point of sale (POS) display. The Square Stand includes built-in tap and chip card readers and is built on a swivel so you can turn it around to face customers and collect digital signatures. We scored the Stand on the same criteria we use to consider card reading hardware, where it earned a 4.29 out of a possible 5 for its affordable price and user-friendliness.
Square Stand Overview
The Square Stand is an enclosure for an iPad that transforms a simple tablet into a full-scale POS station. With tap and chip card readers built into the case, and a swivel base, the Square Stand elegantly sidesteps the need for peripheral card readers or customer-facing displays. Priced at $149 and available from mainstream retailers like Best Buy, the Square Stand is easy to find and easy to configure.
Users should note, though, that the $149 price tag does not include an iPad. You can bring your own iPad (if it is compatible) or purchase an iPad from Square ($329) when you order your Square Stand. Square Stand is the foundation of an excellent countertop POS station for small businesses on a budget and those that want to reduce countertop clutter. Though it will need to remain on your countertop; the Stand needs to be plugged into electricity and must be adhered or screwed into a countertop for the swivel feature to work.
The Square Stand is sold directly via Square’s website and via brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy. You can purchase the Stand upfront for a one-time cost of $149 or—if you purchase through Square—in monthly payments of $14 for 12 months. Residents of Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Tennessee should note that the Square installment plan is not available in their areas, though.
Using the Square Stand requires an iPad Pro, 3rd generation iPad Air, or 7th through 9th generation iPad. If you already own a compatible iPad, then $149 is incredibly low cost for a POS display with card readers. If you have to purchase an iPad, you’ll need to budget for one. Square sells a 10.2-inch 2021 iPad for $329. This would put your total cost at $478, which is still pretty competitive for a combination POS display and card reader.
POS stands for iPads from competitors tend to be slightly more expensive (competitor Lightspeed POS offers a stand for $199) but typically don’t include card readers.
You’ll need Square Payments for processing, so you should note those fees as well. Square’s current processing rates are:
- In person: 2.6% + 10 cents
- Manually keyed: 3.5% + 15 cents
- Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
If you process more than $250,000 in credit card transactions annually, though, you can get a custom-rate quote that is typically lower.
Your Square Stand and iPad can operate any of the Square POS software offerings; basic Square POS, Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants, and Square Appointments. Current pricing for Square’s POS offerings is:
Square POS Subscription Costs
$0 per month
Square for Retail
$0 per month
$60 per month
Square for Restaurants
$0 per month
$60 per month
$0 per month
$29 per location monthly
$69 per location monthly
Square frequently tops our list of the best POS systems for small businesses. All Square POS systems have a free baseline subscription, and the basic Square POS is free to use forever. Square also has no long-term contracts for any of its software, so you can cancel or upgrade your Square account at any time. Unless, of course, you opted for monthly payments for your hardware; you’ll be on the hook for that payment until the hardware is paid off. If you’re interested in the functions offered by a Square POS paid plan, Square offers a 30-day free trial of virtually all of their higher-tier subscriptions.
- Dimensions: 12 inches long, 9.5 inches high, 7.1 inches deep; 10.2 inch or 10.5 inch screen (varies by iPad selection; iPad sold separately)
- Rotation diameter: 13.8-inch circle required for stand rotation
- Weight: 4 pounds, 7 ounces (without iPad)
- Available colors: Glossy white pedestal, matte black screen enclosure
- Materials: Metal and plastic
- Power Source: Wall plug (required)
- Connection type: Wi-Fi or Ethernet for internet connection; USB, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi connected peripheral hardware
- Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Square Stand has a lot of insightful features that make it the right fit for small and growing independent businesses. The built-in tap and chip card readers save you money right off the bat. If you need to accept swipe cards, you can plug a free Square swipe reader into the Stand; it has an audio jack just for this purpose, which is an elegant workaround since newer generation iPads (10th generation and up) don’t have audio jacks.
The Square Stand’s swivel base keeps you from needing a customer-facing display; you can simply rotate the entire stand to collect digital customer signatures. If your check average is small, you won’t even need a receipt printer. Though if you need these additional peripherals, you can connect with a wealth of third-party hardware via USB, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. This makes the Stand more flexible than Square’s other countertop offering, Square Register.
If you need a more complete POS station, including a cash drawer and receipt printer, you can purchase a complete Square Stand hardware kit from Square for $619 without an iPad ($948 with an iPad).
Since the major POS functions of the Square Stand run through your iPad, you can also centralize your third-party apps and access your Square dashboard directly from your POS station. This is especially handy if you use additional apps for online sales, shipping, review management, marketing, or accounting. And you won’t just be tied to the hundreds of apps in the Square App marketplace. If your iPad has the available storage, you can run any additional app you like directly from your iPad.
Square Stand is incredibly user-friendly. You simply pop in an iPad, plug the Stand into an electrical outlet, connect to the internet (via Wi-Fi or ethernet), and sign into your Square POS account. If you have an active Square POS account, you can quite literally get a Square Stand up and running in less than 10 minutes. You’ll spend more time deciding where to affix your swivel base than you will setting up the Square Stand.
Square Stand’s only minor drawback is that it must be stationary. It must be plugged into electricity in order to work, and the base must be adhered to a countertop via strong adhesive or secured with screws. If you want a POS terminal that moves around your shop or operates without a wall plug, check out the Square Terminal or one of Square’s mobile POS hardware kits.
Square Stand has the same drawback that I often mention with Square products. It is, admittedly, a minor drawback, but if you are tech-phobic and need one-on-one support from your POS partner, you won’t be happy with Square. Wait times for a live technician can be long. I—and some small business owners I know—have also received incomplete or confusing information from Square support reps.
The Square Seller Community—a searchable forum for Square users–tends to include more relevant, comprehensive information when you’re troubleshooting your Square system. This is a pretty minor defect for a brand that caters to the small businesses many other brands overlook. And you’ll definitely pay more than $0 per month for an alternative POS that offers more robust support.
Square Stand works great as an entry-level POS stand. The affordable price and self-installation make it a no-brainer for small businesses that are upgrading from an electronic cash register, or accepting digital payments for the first time. The Stand is designed for the modern customer and modern retailer, though. So if you need to accept old-school payments like swipe cards and cash, you’ll need additional equipment. But overall, the Square Stand equipped with an iPad is one of the least expensive POS station configurations available.
The Square Stand is best suited for small and medium-volume businesses or those just getting started with a POS. If you experience a high volume of sales or need to accept more payment types, the Square Register is a more robust option for your business. If you need a fully mobile POS station, you’ll be better off with a Square Terminal or one of Square’s mobile POS configurations.
Methodology – How We Evaluated
We recently compared the Square Stand against several other card readers on the market. We scored this equipment on price, functionality, and ease of use. Click through the tabs below for a full description of our scoring criteria:
25% of Overall Score
We prioritized affordable devices that can be purchased along with payment processing services that don’t require long-term contracts and offer transparent, low-cost, pay-as-you-go transaction fees. We gave high marks for low (or even free) card readers and providers that offer interchange-plus transaction rates.
25% of Overall Score
We evaluated how the device is built, taking into consideration flexibility, compatibility, and mobility. Can the card reader be used in both a mobile and countertop setup? Is it compatible with popular operating systems? We also gave extra points for card readers with extra tools such as pin pads and displays.
25% of Overall Score
We gave high marks for card readers that offer offline transaction processing, accept a wide variety of payment types, and integrate POS tools such as inventory management and ecommerce. We also looked for seamless processing by researching user experience reviews for any issues when accepting payments.
15% of Overall Score
Setting up and using credit card readers should be easy. We awarded points to providers that offer automatic updates, round-the-clock support, and extensive online user guides for setting up and maintaining their devices.
10% of Overall Score
Finally, we evaluated each device’s overall performance to award points for any standout features, assessed the overall value each reader provides for the cost, read user and critic reviews, and considered our own personal experience operating card readers and interacting with each company’s customer support.
Meet the Experts
This review features the expertise of three of Fit Small Business’ retail and payments experts. Learn more about why you can trust us:
Mary King spent more than a decade managing various food service businesses, from coffee shops and food trucks to full service restaurants and event spaces. She has advised small retail and restaurant businesses for several years and focused on researching and rating small business technology for four years.
Meaghan Brophy has 10-plus years of retail experience, during which she has operated a variety of cash registers and POS systems in different settings and applications.
Since working in retail, Meaghan has 7-plus years of experience writing for retailers and 4-plus years of experience evaluating POS systems.
Anna Lynn Dizon is a retail expert writer for Fit Small Business, contributing to our POS and payments sections. She has evaluated dozens of software for small business owners. Her experience in business and finance led her to work for a US risk mitigation company in its regional Singapore office. She holds a degree in accountancy with a minor in financial management.
Square Stand FAQs
At $149 upfront, the Square Stand is an affordable POS station for small businesses, especially if you already have a compatible iPad. The built-in tap and chip card readers, plus the swivel function save you the combined expenses of peripheral card readers and a customer-facing display. If you need to accept swipe payments for credit cards or gift cards, you can attach a swipe reader to the Stand’s audio jack. Square sends a swipe card reader to new customers free of charge.
Square Stand is an iPad enclosure with built-in tap and swipe card readers that convert a basic iPad into a complete POS station. It is used to replace multiple pieces of POS hardware—a POS display, card reader, and customer-facing display—to create a low-profile, streamlined POS station ideal for small brick-and-mortar businesses.
The Square Stand draws 24 watts from a power supply. So if you are hoping to use your Square Stand at a trade show or on a food truck, you’ll want to have a power supply that can support 24 watts for the duration of your operation. To get the best results with a temporary power supply, start with a fully charged iPad. Though if your business is fully mobile all the time, you may prefer a simpler iPad stand with a peripheral Square reader.
The Square Stand is an accessible, low-profile tool that turns a basic iPad into a full-scale POS station. This user-friendly POS hardware is easy to install, and it’s cost-effective since it includes built-in card readers. The swivel function might wear down in super high-volume businesses, which might be better served by a stationary customer-facing display (like the one found in the Square Register). But overall, user feedback is incredibly positive. You can purchase the Square Stand from mainstream retailers like Best Buy or directly from the Square website.