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Square Card Readers Review

Square's card machines prove a popular choice for small businesses; we take a look at why

What do Square Payments Provide?

Square provides payment solutions for businesses of all sizes, focusing on making it easier for businesses like yours to simplify how you take payments. Square provides both the hardware and the software required for your business and, with its range of card machines available, it caters to businesses of all types and sizes. 

 

In addition, Square offers various software features to make managing your business a bit more simple. These reasons and more make Square a popular choice for small and medium-sized businesses.  

Square's Card Machines

Square offers a range of different card readers, each with a different range of uses, so you can choose a card machine that works for your business. Most of Sqaure's card machines also come with Square's software already installed, and its mobile app means you can turn a device you already own into a payment terminal. 

 

Some of the software and customisations are specifically aimed at certain industries, further enhancing its applicability to some of the most common industries. Read on to find out more. 

The Square Reader

£19 (excluding VAT)

Simplistic design makes it easy to use for both you and your customers.

The Square Reader is the entry-level card reader available from Square but still allows you to accept payments in several ways, including via chip & PIN cards, contactless card payments, or through Apple and Google Pay; so you can easily cater to your customer's payment preferences. 

 

Its simplistic design makes it easy to use for both you and your customers, while also ensuring portability and, at just £19 (excluding VAT) it's also a much cheaper option than many other card readers on the market. The addition of data security and 24/7 fraud prevention adds to its appeal, as does its two-year warranty.  

 

It can also be bought with various accessories, allowing you to keep it mounted on your checkout desk or mount it onto a tablet or smartphone to boost its portability, which makes it an ideal choice for you if you take payments on the go. The added accessories do, however, come with an extra cost. If you're looking for a basic way of accepting card payments, this could be it. 

The Square Terminal

£119 (excluding VAT)

Has the ability to take payments without a stable wifi connection

One step up from the basic card reader, the Square terminal offers more than the basic ability to accept card payments. Coming with a built-in touchscreen, it's a modern and intuitive approach to accepting payments. From managing items and taking payments to printing receipts and getting paid, the Square terminal does a lot for its relatively cheap price of £119, which compares well to other card machines of a similar, feature-rich level. The lack of monthly fees also makes it a good option for businesses looking to save money on their payment systems. 

 

Like its cheaper alternative, the Square Terminal accepts multiple methods of payment but, as a bonus, it also has the ability to take payments without a stable wifi connection so, even when disaster strikes, you can process payments without any trouble. The terminal is fully portable and packs a battery that keeps the machine powered all day, allowing it to cope with even your busiest days on your shop floor. 

 

You can also use the Square Terminal to upgrade your existing checkout. By connecting it to a device that already runs Sqaure's software, such as an iPad, smartphone or other tablet, you can give your system a second screen, allowing you to itemise your customer's basket for them to see on a separate screen. You can also connect the Square Terminal to your laptop, which further diversifies how you can use the device to suit your needs. 

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The Square Stand

£79 (excluding VAT)

One simple device to run your whole payment system

Built around an iPad, the Square Stand puts smartphone technology at its heart. It's designed to be a fully functional electronic point-of-sale system that's as simple as it can be. Compatible with 10.2" and 10.5" iPads, the Square Stand uses one simple device to run your whole payment system; all you need on the iPad is Square's point of sale app and you're good to go - no training for your staff required. The Stand's swivel ability means it can become a customer display in a second, so you can show your customers exactly what they've bought and they can confirm their total, bolstering your customer communication.

 

The fact the Square Stand features built-in payments means your business doesn't need any extra card readers to make it work, saving you money. You can also save money by using your own iPad which, provided it's a compatible size, can be integrated with your POS system with minimal effort, just download the Square Point of Sale app and you're good to start accepting payments. As is the case with the payment systems above, the Square Stand comes with no monthly fees.

 

It's also fully customisable; so you can add a receipt printer, barcode scanner, cash drawer and more should you want to. 

The Square Register

£479 (excluding VAT)

all-encompassing system designed to compete with some of the best systems on the market

The Square Register is Square's highest standard of payment system. It's a fully integrated EPOS system that allows you to manage card and contactless payments, online sales, click-and-collect and delivery. Based around its large touchscreen, the Register is an all-encompassing system designed to compete with some of the best systems on the market. There are no extra tablets or card readers needed, which means it lends itself to being the single and most crucial part of your business's payment system. 

 

The Register takes the customer-focused approach of the Square Stand (explored above) to the next level with its two-screen solution. It means there's one screen for you and one for your customer, so your customers can see what they're buying and you can be accurate in what you're selling, putting the customer in the driving seat. It also means they can securely enter their PIN on screen, without any requirement to pass a terminal across the counter. 

 

Like the other payment devices explored above, the Square Register is also fully compatible with the Square Point of Sale app, which means you can do everything from taking payments to running your business's online orders and deliveries, all of which can be done right from the Square Register. The device also supports offline mode and can be customised with things like printers, barcode scanners and till drawers if you need them. Square's 24/7 phone support and two-year guarantee also make the Register a viable option for your busy business.

Square's Accessories

As well as the basic card reader machines and POS software that comes with them (all of which are explored above), Square also provide accessories to accompany its machines. These accessories allow you to mould your EPOS system to your specific needs. 

 

If for example, you buy a Square Register to deal with your customers but, later down the line you require a cash drawer to keep your cash takings in, you can buy one directly from Square. Likewise, if your customers start to ask for printed receipts, you can choose from a whole range of printers available on Square's website.

 

Other accessories include barcode scanners, docks for card readers, kitchen touchscreens, and wall mounts. All of these mean your business can grow and develop and stick with Square for the duration, because it will be able to keep up with your business's demand for hardware, making it a viable option even for businesses that are likely to change the way they work in the near future. 

How Much Does Square Cost?

As you've already read, Square provide a range of hardware to both take payments directly and facilitate the taking of payments. All of this hardware, you'll have seen, carries a one-off cost. After you pay for the hardware, there's no requirement, as there is with some payment system providers, to carry on paying for it over an indefinite period. You are also not required to pay any monthly fee for using Square's equipment, something else which makes the company a good option for businesses looking to save money.

 

You are, however, required to pay transaction fees on each payment that is processed through Square. The transaction fee you pay depends on a few factors. You pay a 1.75% transaction fee on in-person transactions that are chip & PIN payments, mobile payments, or contactless payments. 

 

You pay a higher rate of 2.5% for manually keyed-in payments that go through the Square Point of Sale app, Square invoices, and card payments that happen over the phone with Square's virtual terminal. 

 

When it comes to online payments, you pay a 1.4% transaction fee (+25p) on payments made on UK cards and a 2.5% transaction fee (+25p) for non-UK card transactions. This pricing structure applies to online store payments, online checkouts, and online API. 

FAQs

Your Questions Answered

One of the best things about Square is that there's no monthly cost. What you do pay is a 1.75% transaction fee on in-person transactions that are chip & PIN payments, mobile payments, or contactless payments. You pay a higher rate of 2.5% for manually keyed-in payments that go through the Square Point of Sale app, Square invoices, and card payments that happen over the phone with Square's virtual terminal. 

 

When it comes to online payments, you pay a 1.4% transaction fee (+25p) on payments made on UK cards and a 2.5% transaction fee (+25p) for non-UK card transactions. This pricing structure applies to online store payments, online checkouts, and online API. 

 

These fees are in addition to the one-off cost you pay for the hardware. 

Square provides payment solutions for businesses of all sizes, focusing on making it easier for businesses like yours to simplify how you take payments. 

 

Square provides both the hardware and the software required for your business and, with its range of card machines available, it caters to businesses of all types and sizes. 

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The Best Card Machines For Small Businesses 2024

If your business still operates a cash-only policy when it takes payments, or you're looking to upgrade the cash machines you've already got, choosing the right card reader for your business can be a trickier job than it sounds.While card machines aren't the most glamorous thing to spend your money on, they are an essential part of your business. Recent years have seen them grow in popularity and now many people use their cards to pay for the vast majority of their goods and services. You, then, need a reliable, useable, and cost-effective card machine to ensure your business is not only able to take payments by card but also take them quickly and easily with a device you understand.  The Best Card Machines for Small BusinessesDifferent machines offer your business different benefits, and knowing which is the best choice isn't always clear. That's why we've done most of the research for you, and compiled this list of some of the best card machines on the UK market. We've compared them, so you don't have to. As you're probably aware, card machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are portable and pocket-sized, while others are large and fixed to your business's countertop. We've covered all bases in this list, so you'll find a mix of different types of card machines. 

How Much Do Business Bank Accounts Cost?

What is a Business Bank Account?Business bank accounts enable you to separate your personal and business expenses; creating a convenient way to organise your tax and bookkeeping. This makes paying taxes easier and means your files are clear and easy to understand. There are several advantages to having a business bank account. For a deeper dive into what a business account can offer you and your business, read on. In this article, we outline the costs associated with opening and maintaining a business bank account and explain what you need to get started. How Much Does A Business Account Cost?Each bank has its own set of criteria for opening a business bank account. It's important to evaluate and compare the available options to find the best business checking account that suits the needs of your business. If you already have a personal account with a particular bank, there might be special offers or benefits available to you if you choose to open a business bank account with the same one. Some banks require an initial deposit or a minimum balance, while others impose varying fees for different types of transactions, such as monthly service fees, excess transaction fees, or cash handling fees.

Direct Debit Explained

A direct debit payment is a payment taken automatically from a customer's bank account periodically. It's often offered as a payment method by businesses that provide subscription services or other services that require an ongoing commitment from a customer. The main benefit of direct debit payments, for businesses and consumers, is their simplicity. Neither your business nor the customer has to worry about remembering the payment, so payments aren't missed and the relationship between you and your customers is more easily managed. How to Take Direct Debit PaymentsThe way direct debits work is fairly simple. Your customer's payment is taken from their account automatically, usually on a predetermined date, and your business then continues to provide the customer with your service. You need an agreement from your customers to take payments automatically, so make sure it's clear what they are opting in for. You don't want your customers to be confused about what it is they've committed to.  You also need to be eligible to take direct debit payments, which means you need to get a Service User Number (SUN) - a six-digit number businesses use to get paid via direct debit. You can get a SUN directly from your bank, provided you meet its criteria.  Once your bank and your customers have given you the green light to take payments automatically, you just need to set up the frequency and size of your payment. The most important thing to remember about this part is that your customers must be given 10 days' notice before each payment is taken. The notice needs to detail when the payment will be taken and how much it will be. Benefits of Taking Direct Debit PaymentsAs mentioned above, the most obvious benefit of accepting direct debit payments is the simplicity it brings to the hassle of keeping on top of recurring payments. That's not where the benefits of direct debit payments though. Other benefits include having greater predictability, greater retention, and better relationships with your customers. Having a better idea of exactly how much revenue you've got coming in from your customers and knowing exactly when you'll be receiving it can make your business's general finances more predictable and therefore more manageable. You can also use this information to inform future decisions about your business growth.  Having customers committed to your business on an ongoing basis also means they're more likely to stick around as they already know they like what you provide, making the job of your CRM that much easier.  With customers already engaged heavily with your business and your brand, they're right where you want them to be to develop your relationship with them. You can use their pre-existing interest to market more of your services, offer special discounts or offers, or reward their loyalty with a giveaway. These things will help keep their engagement with your brand nice and high.