Square Fees: What Are the Costs?

The price tag for Square's business products can include a per-charge fee for payments, subscription fees and hardware costs.
Dec 15, 2021

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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.

Square POS

Square
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on Square's website

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.

In-person transactions

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).

Online transactions

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

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.

Point-of-sale systems

Cost: Free.

  • Reporting.

  • Inventory management, including low-stock alerts.

  • Multiple locations management.

  • Itemized refunds.

  • Customizable interface, including item modifiers and quick access for popular items.

Free version.

  • Basic POS system.

  • Basic team management software.

  • Customer support available on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time.

  • Menu management.

  • Table management.

  • Automatic tipping.

  • Basic reporting.

  • Kitchen device system software for $20 per month per device.

Plus: $60 per month per location. An additional $40 per month for each POS device.

  • Advanced team management software, called Teams Plus.

  • Custom floor plan.

  • Course management.

  • Seating management.

  • 24/7 customer support.

  • Unlimited kitchen device software use at no additional cost.

  • Reopen closed checks.

  • Live sales reports.

  • Advanced reporting.

Square also has a subscription tier called Premium. It uses custom prices and is intended for growing restaurant brands.

Free version.

  • Unlimited items.

  • Basic reporting tools.

  • Barcode support.

  • Oversee inventory across multiple locations.

  • Alerts when stock runs low.

  • Manage discounts.

  • Employee time tracking.

Plus: $60 per month per location.

  • Automatically generate a purchase order when stock runs low.

  • Advanced reporting tools.

  • Bulk inventory intake and transfer.

  • Manage vendors.

  • Accept returns at any location.

  • Supports customer exchanges.

  • Free online store with inventory sync.

  • Unlimited user permissions.

  • Track multiple wage rates.

Square also has a subscription tier called Premium. It uses custom pricing and is intended for growing companies.

Online store

Create and host a website with Square. Syncs with all POS systems.

Free version.

  • Sell unlimited items.

  • Support merchandise pickup, delivery and shipping.

  • Confirm customer age.

  • Keep customers updated on their order with text alerts.

  • Accept Apple Pay and Google Pay.

  • Integration with Facebook and Instagram.

  • Create coupons.

Professional: $12 per month.

  • Unlimited online storage (free version capped at 500 MB).

  • Use a custom domain name.

  • No Square advertisements on your webpage.

  • Additional site customization tools.

  • Access website stats.

Performance: $26 per month.

  • Print shipping labels.

  • Discounts on shipping prices.

  • Accept PayPal.

  • Permit customers to recover abandoned carts.

  • Allow customers to leave reviews.

  • Advanced website stats.

Premium: $72 per month.

  • Cheaper payment processing fees of 2.6% plus 30 cents.

  • Best available shipping discounts.

POS Hardware: features and pricing

Magstripe reader Features: Accepts card swipe transactions. You’ll need to bring: A phone or tablet. Price: First one free, then $10.

Square wireless reader Features: Accepts tap and dip card transactions as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay. You’ll need to bring: A phone or tablet. Price: $49.

Square Terminal Features: All-in-one touchscreen device with built-in printer that accepts card swipes, taps and dips as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay. You’ll need to bring: Nothing. Price: $299.

Square Stand

  • Stand for iPad that swivels to customers to complete transactions.

  • Accepts tap, dip and swipe card transactions as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

You’ll need to bring: An iPad. Price: $169.

Square Register

  • Large 13-inch employee-facing touchscreen and dedicated 7-inch touchscreen for customer use.

  • Includes five USB ports for accessories.

  • Accepts tap, dip and swipe card transactions as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

You’ll need to bring: Nothing. Price: $799.

  • Cash drawers starting at $129.

  • Receipt printers starting at $299.

  • Barcode scanner starting at $119.

  • Scales starting at $500.

Add-on services: features and pricing

Free version

  • Create employee schedules up to 10 days in advance.

  • Allow employees to share availability.

  • Let employees clock in and out.

  • Track overtime and breaks.

Team Plus: $35 per month per location.

  • Create employee schedules as far in advance as you want.

  • Allow open scheduling and shift trading.

  • Disallow early clocking in.

  • Use multiple pay rates.

  • Set unlimited number of user permissions.

  • Log activity and sales by user.

Pay employees and contractors: $35 per month plus $5 per employee paid.

  • Includes tax filing and payments.

  • Pay employees and contractors in multiple states.

  • Include tips and commissions.

  • Square mails employees and contractors W-2s and 1099-NEC forms.

  • Pay employees by check, direct deposit or Square’s Cash App.

  • No limit on pay runs per month.

  • Pause subscription if your needs are seasonal.

  • Option to offer benefits to employees, for an additional fee.

Pay only contractors: $5 monthly per contractor paid.

  • Pay contractors in multiple states.

  • Square mails contractors W-2s and 1099-NEC forms.

  • Pause subscription if your needs are seasonal.

Customize a system that rewards repeat customers. Create reward levels based on items purchased, total spend or number of visits. Enroll new customers any time a checkout takes place on your Square POS terminal.

Pricing: You pay based on the number of times your customers use the program:

  • 0 to 500 visits: $45 per month per location.

  • 501 to 1,500 visits: $75 per month per location.

  • 1,501 visits and up: $105 per month per location.

Using contact information gathered at checkout, you can communicate directly with customers. Modern templates, automation features and the ability to send both emails and text are a few of this product’s best features.

Pricing: Every subscription level has identical features, but you pay more as your contact list grows. There are 10 pricing tiers, beginning with:

  • Up to 500 subscribers: $15 per month.

  • 501 to 1,000 subscribers: $25 per month.

  • 1,001 to 2,000 subscribers: $35 per month.

  • 50,001 to 75,000 subscribers for $425 per month is at the top of the pricing structure, after which custom pricing kicks in.

Digital gift cards

  • You don’t pay anything extra to sell a digital gift card — only the standard payment processing fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents.

Physical gift cards

  • Starter pack: Minimum order of $40 for a pack of 20 custom cards with four different backgrounds.

  • Quick cards: Minimum order of $71.25 for 75 cards of the same type.

  • Custom cards: Minimum order of $60 for 75 cards of a design you submit.

Financial services

Checking and savings accounts

No monthly fee, minimum balance fee or overdraft fees. No ATM fees from Square, but you are responsible to pay third-party ATM operator fees.

Loans

Square offers loans between $300 and $250,000. Instead of an interest rate, Square charges an upfront fee that varies depending on the applicant’s history using Square payment processing services. The loan is repaid over 18 months. Instead of the merchant owing a fixed monthly amount, Square takes a percentage of a merchant’s card payments.

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.