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Square costs fall into one of three categories: per-use fees for payment processing, a monthly subscription cost for software and the price of any Square hardware you buy.
The basic Square point-of-sale app is free to use. You’ll only pay the standard transaction fee of 2.6% plus 10 cents for each in-person card payment. If you want to move beyond basic software features, or if you want hardware to make it easier to accept payments, additional costs apply.
What is Square, and who is it best for?
Square is a point-of-sale system that includes payment processing services. Its wide range of tools makes it a good option for a variety of small business types, including specific versions for restaurants and retail.
In addition to point of sale, the company has grown its product suite to include an e-commerce website builder, appointment scheduling software, customer loyalty programs and more. While a few can work as stand-alone products, like payment links, most are best suited when paired with Square’s POS system.
Payment processing fees
Square charges a flat fee that varies depending on whether the card was used in person, online or if the merchant entered the card manually without the customer present.
All of Square’s flat fees consist of two parts: a percentage and a set amount. So the total percentage of each sale you can plan to pay in processing fees depends on your average ticket size.
Some premium Square software subscription levels come with cheaper flat rates. And Square does provide custom rates to some businesses — generally those doing more than $250,000 in business with Square per year with an average sale of more than $15.
You’re charged an in-person fee whenever a customer uses your card reader to swipe, dip or tap their card. These types of transactions have the lowest fees:
2.6% plus 10 cents for card payments in most locations.
2.5% plus 10 cents for card payments if you subscribe to Square’s premium plan for retail stores, called Retail Plus ($60 per month).
Customers can enter and submit their card information online in a variety of ways, including on a website built with Square, an invoice or a payment link. You’ll pay:
2.9% plus 30 cents.
2.6% plus 30 cents if you use the Square Premium website ($72 per month).
Card-not-present transactions take place when the merchant enters a customer’s card information — perhaps taking an order over the phone. This type of transaction includes “card on file” transactions, which is when a customer keeps their card information on file with the merchant and authorizes its use in advance. With these types of transactions, you’ll pay:
3.5% plus 15 cents.
Square POS and e-commerce: features and pricing
All subscriptions are month-to-month, and users can cancel at any time without penalty.
Create and host a website with Square. Syncs with all POS systems.
POS Hardware: features and pricing
Add-on services: features and pricing
The bottom line
You can project what it will cost to use Square by considering each type of cost:
Hardware. This is a one-time cost you’ll pay upfront (Square does offer financing options). Make sure to factor in the cost of a mobile device if you plan to use one along with any accessories you’ll need.
Software subscription. Depending on your business needs, you might be able to save money by using Square’s free software option. But as you grow or your needs change, you might want the features found in a premium version of Square POS or add-on services, like a customer loyalty program. It might be helpful to budget for both a low-end and a high-end setup.
Payment processing. Your sales volume will have the biggest impact on what you pay for payment processing. Because this fee is linked to sales, it will also fluctuate from month to month. However, another factor to consider is where you’ll accept card payments. If you accept payments in person and online, compare how your costs change depending on where payments take place.
By understanding your upfront cost, your fixed monthly cost and your variable monthly cost, you’ll have a clearer picture of your total cost to use Square.