Square Merchant Services – Are They Right For Your Business?

  • Flat rate of 2.6% + $0.10 per swipe
  • Easy to open an account
  • Pay as you go pricing model
  • Can accept offline payments
  • Users are sharing a merchant account

Square Overview

No other company has had as big an impact on payment processing as Square. They literally changed the way that merchant account providers work. Before we had Square merchant services, an online business had to open a merchant account to process credit card payments. This meant applying to your bank and a lengthy process. Square merchant services are a full-stack system of hardware, software, and credit card processing. Everything is PCI compliant and a Square merchant account is up and running within days. There are no application fees and anyone can open an account easily.

Features and Integrations

The biggest advantage that Square merchant services offer a business is the ease of use. You can accept payments without opening a merchant account. This makes it ideal for new and small businesses. The pricing is a flat rate model regardless of what credit card the customer uses. And setup and integration could not be easier. You simply need internet, a card reader, and a mobile device.

Square Merchant Services


Another great benefit of using Square is the hardware they provide. They design and build all their hardware devices in-house, so everything works seamlessly. They offer everything from point of sale terminals to readers for contactless payments. This makes Square online credit card processing an ideal solution for small businesses. They have a wide range of hardware accessories to suit all your needs.

Free Magstripe Reader

Squares free magstripe card reader works alongside their point of sale app. This means you can accept payments with just a smartphone or tablet, with no commitment or contract. There are two options to choose from. There is the headset jack version, and then there is the Lightning Cable version. The reader uses a flat rate of 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express cards.

Square Terminal

Square payment terminals are the sleek alternative to a clunky credit card machine. It allows you to take payments and print receipts easily. You can tap a mobile device to accept Apple Pay or other NFC payments. Or you can dip an EMV card into the terminal. Alternatively, you can swipe a card just like a magstripe reader. Tap, dip, or swipes have a flat rate of 2.6% + 10¢ for every use.

Square Register

Square Register is a fully integrated point of sale system that you can use right from the box. It is the fastest point of sale system and you don’t need any apps or mobile devices to use it. It comes with 24/7 phone support and protection from eligible chargebacks. And just like Square payment terminals, you can accept payments for 2.6% + 10¢ per tap, dip, or swipe.


Included Features

Square merchant services are one of the most straightforward ways of doing business. How you accept debit and credit cards is one of the core features of your business. And Square packs many incredible features that are super-convenient. You can get set up and running from anywhere as their equipment is all mobile-friendly. And their pricing is completely transparent.

No Additional Fees

One of the best things about using Square merchant services is their pricing. Everything is completely transparent and there is no guesswork as to how much you pay. You only pay when you take a payment. There are no startup fees, authorization fees, or statement fees. There are also no refund fees, PCI-compliance fees, business card fees. And you pay the same rate for every card.

Square Point of Sale App

Square Point of Sale App has completely revolutionized payment processing. You can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play Store. It is incredibly intuitive to use and has a sleek and customizable interface. You can email or text receipts, program discounts, and manage refunds. It also includes your sales reports and manages your inventory. And it integrates easily with many other third-party apps. It even tracks your employee’s clock-in and out times.

Square for Retail and Square for Restaurants

Square for Retail and Square for Restaurants are both full point of sale systems. They pack incredible features for your specific business. With Square for Retail, you can scan and search items to keep your inventory in check. It also automatically generates purchase orders so you can order from vendors easily. Square for Restaurants is an ideal system for a restaurant or bar. You can optimize your floor plan to turn more tables and link your servers with your kitchen. And you can manage your menu with customizable layouts.


Square Invoice

With Square Invoice, you can send digital invoices and estimates from anywhere. It tracks your invoices in real-time so you can keep track of all your payments. You can send reminders to the customers belonging to the unpaid invoices. Customers can then pay the invoice with a single click for fast and reliable payment processing. They can pay by credit card, Apple Pay, or bank transfer, all from their mobile device

PCI Compliance and Fraud Prevention

A seller with a merchant ID must follow PCI compliance regulations if they accept cards. Square takes care of PCI compliance for you so you don’t need to validate it. They are the ones with the merchant ID and deal with the banks on your behalf. This means you and your customers are completely safe. It also means you can focus on your business and not worry about PCI compliance.

Square High Risk Merchant Account

The most important thing to understand about Square is how they operate. Square merchant services give you the hardware, software, and services you need to process credit card payments. But to accept credit card payments you need a merchant account, or more technically a merchant ID. Your Square merchant account is not yours alone. You are in a group of businesses that are usually like your own, and you share this Square merchant account.

This allows your business to get up and running right from the start. Anyone can get an account with Square. But they do not accept high risk businesses. That is not to say you won’t get accepted. You will, but later they may terminate your account when they realize you are high risk. The other risk is that someone else in your group gets your merchant account frozen.

Square Fees & Rates

Fees & Rates

Square credit card processing rates are completely transparent and easy to understand. When a customer makes a purchase from you, Square receives a cut and that’s it. How much they take depends on how the transaction takes place. Most importantly, there are no hidden fees. There are no fees for setup, refunds, or chargebacks and dispute management. The app is free and so is your PCI compliance. Using Square for credit card processing is an ideal choice for a new business that will deal in low volume.

Square Pricing

Square payment processing fees are completely transparent. This makes it an easy process to cost your business. You are paying a flat rate for every transaction, so you can factor this into your pricing model. So using Square for credit card processing is ideal for a small business. But as your business starts to deal in higher volume, it may be more beneficial to get a merchant account.

A Square merchant account is fine if your volume is less than around $5,000 per month. But once you go above this, a standard merchant account may be better, since the Square online credit card processing model may cost you more. The best part about Square credit card processing rates is that they are fixed. This makes it a great starting point for a new business.

Square Fee Structure

Square payment processing fees depend on how you accept the payment from the customer. If the customer’s card is present, there is a lower risk of fraud. In this case, you will pay 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction. If the card is not present, you pay more for the transaction since there is a higher risk of fraudulent activity. There are two types of Square online credit card processing. If you key in your customer’s card details you pay 3.5% + 15¢. If the customer buys from your Square Online Store you pay 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. You can view your current processing rates in your online dashboard at any time.


Setup Process and Ease of Use

The beauty of choosing Square merchant services for your business is simplicity. Everything works right out of the box and integrates seamlessly. So you can focus on your business and not on your payment processing. You can accept payments in your retail store or e-commerce store with ease. Online stores can integrate Square’s payment gateway into their website or app and then customize the user interface. And the payment platform integrates with all popular point of sale software and online store providers. It is an all-in-one system that does everything for your business.

Contract Length and Termination Conditions

One of the biggest threats to an online business is early closure. If you have a standard merchant account, you typically have a 1 to 3 year contract. And with an early termination fee, it can prove costly if you close your business. Square merchant services come with no contract. You pay as you go and there is no early termination fee. You can stop operating at any time, and then start up again with no penalty. This is another reason why Square is a great choice if you are unsure about being able to sustain your business.

Square Technical & Customer Support

As with everything else they do, their technical and customer support is top rate. They have a wealth of information on their website to troubleshoot technical issues. They provide a compatibility checker to check your devices. Their issue tracking software helps you see where a problem is coming from. You can also email support or chat via social media. And if you have software or hardware problems, their phone support is excellent. Their operators liaise with engineers to help you with technical issues. The same operators are employees, so they understand customer service issues. Overall, the support is excellent.

Is Square Right for Your Business?

Is Square Right for Your Business?

For any small business that is starting out, they are an ideal choice. With easy integration and no hidden fees, you can get up and running instantly. But if you will be dealing with a high volume of upwards of $5,000 per month, it may be better to consider a merchant account. They also do not deal with high risk businesses. You will get accepted for an account, but you run the risk of having your account terminated if they deem your business to be high risk.

Our Verdict

Overall, we cannot rate Square highly enough. It is a quality company that has completely changed the way online payment processing works. Their products work seamlessly right out of the box, and they have software and hardware to suit any type of business. They are ideal for a small low risk business or a new business that you wish to test. With no contracts or fees, you can check whether your business is sustainable or not. The only downside is you share a merchant account which may lead to issues later down the line. But you can always get a merchant account later if your business grows.