Square Fees: How Much Does Square Cost in 2023?

The price of Square's business products can include a per-charge fee for payments, subscriptions and hardware.
Kurt Woock
By Kurt Woock 
Edited by Ryan Lane

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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.

What fees does Square charge? An overview

Square’s transaction fees are:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.

  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.

Your rates might be lower if you sign up for one of Square's monthly plans described below.

The basic Square point-of-sale app is free; hardware and additional software features cost extra.

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, especially restaurants and retailers.

In addition to point of sale systems, Square’s product suite includes an e-commerce website builder, appointment scheduling software, customer loyalty programs and more. While a few work as stand-alone products (payment links, for example), most work best suited when paired with Square’s POS system.

Square POS

Square
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on Square's website

Square's payment processing and transaction fees

Square’s payment processing fees consist of two parts: a set amount and a percentage. The fee varies depending on whether the customer uses the card in person, online or if the merchant entered the card manually without the customer present.

  • 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 rates.

  • Square provides 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.

Square POS and e-commerce fees

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 scanning.

  • 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.

Square POS hardware: features and pricing

Magstripe reader Features: Accepts card swipe transactions. Square also offers Tap to Pay on iPhone, which lets merchants accept card payments using only a regular iPhone with the Square POS app. Customers hold their cards or their own iPhone wallets near the merchant's phone to pay. 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: $149.

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, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Cash App Pay.

You’ll need to bring: Nothing. Price: $799 or $39 a month for 24 months.

  • Cash drawers starting at $129.

  • Receipt printers starting at $299.

  • Barcode scanner starting at $119.

  • Scales starting at $500.

Square 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.

Square financial services fees

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.

Square alternatives

If you’re looking for cheaper credit card processing than Square offers, here are two of many potential alternatives.

SumUp: Good for mobile

Software cost: $0 monthly fees.

Hardware cost:

  • $35 for SumUp Plus card reader.

  • $49 for SumUp Plus cradle bundle.

  • $99 for SumUp Solo touchscreen.

Payment processing cost:

  • 2.75% for in-person transactions.

  • 2.90% plus 15 cents for online transactions.

  • 3.25% plus 15 cents for manually keyed or payment-linked transactions.

Why we like it: SumUp lets you accept in-person and mobile payments or use a virtual terminal to process payments by phone. Pricing is straightforward with no monthly contract. Read our full SumUp review.

PayPal Zettle: Good overall alternative

Software cost: $0 monthly fees.

Hardware cost: $29 for Zettle card reader. Pay $79 for additional readers.

Payment processing cost:

  • 2.29% plus 9 cents for in-person and QR code transactions.

  • 3.49% plus 9 cents for manual entry card transactions.

  • 3.49% plus 49 cents for invoicing transactions.

Why we like it: This all-in-one POS system offers one of the lowest flat-rate transaction fees, making it an affordable option for starting a new business. It also integrates with accounting software such as QuickBooks. If you want a full-blown system, you can purchase a Store Kit Mini for $249 or browse other ready-made hardware kits and POS systems. Read our full PayPal Zettle review.


See how Square compares to other brands:


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