PROS / Square has one flat rate for all swiped transactions.
CONS / Square does not offer dedicated account reps to its users.
VERDICT / Square offers competitive rates, low fees and free card swipers.
Square is one of the biggest names in mobile credit card processing. It offers a simple flat-rate processing cost and no other monthly fees. In addition to being low cost, Square also offers a simple, quick application process. For these reasons, this mobile credit card processor receives our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
When you sign up for Square, you are shipped a free mobile credit card reader. Square has an EMV-ready card reader and a reader that can also accept contactless payments that use NFC technology, like Apple Pay. You have to pay for the advanced unit, but you can get a rebate on the contactless and chip reader. After you order the EMV-ready card readers, Square assumes the EMV liability for any fraudulent charges that occur using the old swiper until you receive your EMV-ready equipment.
In addition to card readers, Square also offers equipment that allows your iPad to double as a POS system. Square has the Square Appointment app that can help service-oriented businesses schedule and track appointments. In order to use Square Appointments, you need to use the Square Register app to accept payments. Square is compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems.
Square also has options for online processing, which may be something to consider if you plan on expanding your business online. This mobile processor does not have any processing limits, though if you process over $100,000 a year, you may be required to open a merchant account.
Fees & Pricing
Square has a simple pricing plan that eliminates some of the complexity of other credit card processors. With Square, you pay a 2.75 percent processing cost on all swiped cards. Square does not distinguish between card types, so debit, credit, rewards and corporate cards are all charged the same rate. If you need to key-in a card, Square charges you 3.50 percent plus an additional $0.15 per keyed-in transaction.
Square does not require a monthly fee, nor does it have a monthly minimum. You only have to pay the processing costs. This is an advantage if you own a small business with tight margins since you can estimate how much you'll pay your processor each month based on your total sales.
Like many mobile credit card processors, Square does not set you up with your own merchant account when you sign up but rather aggregates all its users under its master merchant account. This has the effect of limiting your costs and eliminating the fees typically associated with credit card processing, such as PCI compliance.
The best mobile processors are transparent and consistent with their fees and the information they provide. Square received the maximum on our transparency and consistency score, providing our reviewers with accurate information that matched what was posted on its website.
Setup & Service
Square boasts some of the best setup and service terms of any of the mobile processors we reviewed. It received 100% on our ease of application score for allowing you to sign up online with minimal requirements, which makes it easy and fast for small businesses, including sole proprietors, to sign up.
You do not have to sign a contract with Square, which means you also don't have any termination fees. When reviewing mobile processors, we put great value on processors that don't require a long-term commitment. Not requiring a contract allows you to move on if a credit card processor is not working out for your business.
Square has a very quick setup time; often you can be up and processing the same day you register, sometimes in as little as five minutes. Keep in mind that until you receive your swiper, you have to process at the higher, keyed-in rate. It can take up to ten days for your free card reader to arrive, but you can purchase them at electronics stores.
Square lacks some of the customer service features we look for in mobile processors. It does not offer live chat, a dedicated rep or 24/7 phone support. In order to use Square's phone support, you must be a Square user. This prevents you from calling and asking questions if you are shopping around for a processor. On Square's website, you can find a detailed knowledgebase that provides detailed information.
Because of Square's inability to be reached by phone by prospective customers, it received a lower Customer Service score. Still, when we reached out by email, the representatives were helpful and followed up quickly.
Square is one of the leading names in the mobile credit card processing industry. We rated it well for its pricing, lack of fees and contracts, and quick setup times. While Square lacks customers service features, such as 24/7 support and dedicated account reps, it is a good service to consider for mobile credit card processing.