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7 Best Square Competitors of July 2024

Whether you’re switching from Square to a new provider or you just want to explore your options, factor in must-have features, software fees and hardware costs.
By Lisa A. Anthony, Karrin Sehmbi, Hillary Crawford
Last updated on May 21, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

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The best Square competitors offer similar core capabilities and have competitive in-person or online processing rates. A handful of these point-of-sale (POS) systems come with free software plans, like Square does, while others focus on paid subscriptions with industry-specific features. If you’d like to learn more about Square’s strengths and downsides, check out NerdWallet’s Square POS review.
Here are our picks for the best Square competitors and why you might choose them.

Best Square Competitors

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Estimates assume an average interchange fee of 1.81% + $0.10, based on our latest available data. Estimates provided reflect online and in-person transactions, but exclude any keyed transactions. Estimates are based on the lowest monthly plan and processing fees for each provider.

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Payment processing fees
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Shopify Retail POS

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on Shopify POS's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
4.5/5

Best for E-commerce platform integration

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$39.00

and up for e-commerce plans with POS Lite; Can upgrade to POS Pro for an extra $89.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Full-service restaurants

2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Industry-specific plans

In-person: 2.3% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.10

$14.95

and up.

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Payment Depot

Learn more

on Payment Depot's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Tailored interchange-plus rates

0.2% + $0.00

to 1.95%, plus interchange.

$0.00

Learn more

on Payment Depot's secure website

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Inventory management

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$109.00

for Basic plan, $179 for Core plan, $289 for Plus plan.

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

SumUp

Learn more

on SumUp's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Touchscreen card reader

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.15

$0.00

for card readers only; $99 for Connect Lite plan; $199 for Connect Plus plan; $289 for Connect Pro plan.

Learn more

on SumUp's secure website

PayPal Zettle

4.0/5

Best for Mobile POS app

In-person: 2.29% + $0.09

Online: 2.89% + $0.49

$0.00

Our pick for

E-commerce platform integration

Shopify is made specifically for retail operations with a strong online presence. Square’s retail POS plans include an e-commerce site, but Shopify’s e-commerce platform offers significantly more online themes and customization options.

Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$39.00

and up for e-commerce plans with POS Lite; Can upgrade to POS Pro for an extra $89.

Our pick for

Full-service restaurants

Square has its own set of POS plans for restaurants, but Toast takes those capabilities a step further with advanced reporting add-ons and 24/7 phone support for all merchants. You can also opt for higher processing rates to cover hardware costs instead of paying upfront or through a monthly payment plan.

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Our pick for

Industry-specific plans

Square’s restaurant plan can be a good fit for a variety of restaurant types, but Clover breaks its options down more granularly with separate plans for quick-service and full-service restaurants. Its full-service plans are more expensive than its quick-service ones and offer additional features, like table mapping.

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$14.95

and up.

Our pick for

Tailored interchange-plus rates

The biggest difference between Square and Payment Depot is their pricing models. Square charges a flat rate, while Payment Depot uses interchange-plus pricing, which allows for more flexibility and passes interchange savings to the merchant.

Payment Depot

Learn more

on Payment Depot's secure website

Payment processing fees
0.2% + $0.00

to 1.95%, plus interchange.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Inventory management

Lightspeed Retail has more advanced inventory management features than Square, like the ability to sync product details from popular business-to-business supplier catalogs so you don’t have to manually enter that information yourself. Advanced reports include “dusty inventory,” which helps you identify products that aren’t selling and may need to be discounted.

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$109.00

for Basic plan, $179 for Core plan, $289 for Plus plan.

Our pick for

Touchscreen card reader

SumUp has the same in-person processing rates as Square (2.6% plus 10 cents) but offers alternative hardware options, like a small touchscreen card reader for taking mobile payments. This is ideal for businesses that process transactions on the go and want to print receipts or display customers’ total purchase amounts.

Learn more

on SumUp's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

for card readers only; $99 for Connect Lite plan; $199 for Connect Plus plan; $289 for Connect Pro plan.

Our pick for

Mobile POS app

Both Square and PayPal Zettle have free mobile apps for accepting payments on the go, whether you’re at a pop-up or farmers market. PayPal Zettle’s in-person transaction rates, however, are a bit lower, making it a reasonable alternative if you just need the basics.

PayPal Zettle

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our picks for the best Square competitors

PayPal Zettle: Best for mobile POS app

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 business. It also integrates with accounting software such as QuickBooks. To get started, you can buy a Store Kit Mini for $249 or browse other ready-made hardware kits and POS systems. Read our full PayPal Zettle review.

SumUp: Best for touchscreen card reader

Why we like it: SumUp lets you accept in-person and mobile payments or use a virtual terminal to process payments by phone. The app includes a digital cashier so you can receive cash payments and send digital receipts. Pricing is straightforward with no monthly contract, and you pay fees only for the transactions you process. Read our full SumUp review.

Shopify Retail POS: Best for e-commerce platform integration

Why we like it: This POS system can help you market to customers, manage inventory and combine in-store and online sales. You can try it for free for three days. Plans include a monthly or annual billing option. You can also change your plan later, regardless of whether you want to upgrade or downgrade. Read our full Shopify POS review.

Toast POS: Best for full-service restaurants

Why we like it: Toast is specifically designed for restaurants. The Quick Start Bundle offers payment processing with optional add-ons so you can customize features to match your business needs. Other plans offer lower rates for card-present transactions but higher startup costs. Read our full Toast POS review.

Payment Depot: Best for tailored interchange-plus rates

Why we like it: Payment Depot is an alternative to consider if you want lower credit card transaction fees. Instead of a flat rate, you pay the actual interchange rate that applies to the transaction plus a markup tailored to your business. Read our full Payment Depot review.

Clover POS: Best for industry-specific plans

Why we like it: Clover is an all-in-one system that lets you accept in-store, mobile, online and phone payments. It works for restaurants, retail stores and service businesses, and the transaction rate is lower than that of some competitors. Read our full Clover POS review.

Lightspeed Retail POS: Best for inventory management

Why we like it: Lightspeed offers competitive transaction pricing along with a complimentary onboarding session to help you get started. Plus, there’s free dispute management and chargeback assistance. You can also find a large number and variety of integrations in the Lightspeed app marketplace. Read our full Lightspeed POS review.

Square pros and cons

To choose the right Square competitor, it’s important to identify what you like and dislike about Square. Some key pros and cons include the following:
Pros

Free POS plan available. 

No long-term contracts or termination fees.

Offers specialized plans for restaurants, retail stores and appointment-based businesses.

Has in-house payroll and banking services.

Cons

May not be robust enough for larger small businesses.

Flat-rate payment processing isn’t the most cost-effective option, especially for higher-volume businesses.

Not compatible with Windows operating systems.

Learn more about Square

Explore Square’s full product lineup, what it’s known for and which types of businesses it’s the best fit for.

How to choose the right Square alternative

Square is a popular POS system and a great solution for many small businesses, but it’s not the best solution for every business. If you’ve used Square before, you probably already know what you like about the product, as well as which pain points you’d like to avoid. Aside from that, make sure to consider the following factors:

Industry specificity and complexity

The best Square competitor for your business will depend largely on your industry, whether you accept more payments online or in person and how robust of a system you require. The system you choose should be able to grow alongside your business and offer some industry-specific features, whether that’s an e-commerce retail platform, recipe costing or appointment booking.

Ease of use

POS systems should be easy for both employees and customers to interact with. If your business accepts tips, for example, make sure your POS system allows you to offer customers preset tipping options. And don’t hesitate to contact to the provider for a demo so that you can test out the user interface.

Payment processing costs

Square’s flat-rate payment processing model is easy to understand, but it’s typically not the least expensive option as your business grows and begins completing more transactions each month. Interchange-plus providers can be a good alternative.

Hardware options

Square has a solid variety of POS hardware options, including handheld terminals, countertop registers with cash drawers and mobile card readers. Its software is also compatible with iPads. Make sure competitors offer the hardware options that best fit your needs and that they’re compatible with third-party accessories you already own.
Last updated on May 21, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s point-of-sale systems provider ratings reward companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including cost, system capabilities, contract requirements, customer service and integrations and add-ons. Learn more about how we rate point-of-sale (POS) systems providers.
These ratings are a guide, but services, hardware and pricing can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
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