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Square POS Review 2024

For small-business owners looking for a top-notch POS system, Square is a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution, though not a strong fit for Windows users.
By Lisa A. Anthony, Karrin Sehmbi
Last updated on January 2, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

The bottom line:

Square is one of a few providers in the space that offers a free version of its POS system. The free version comes with a long list of features and functionality, including sales tracking and reporting, offline mode for accepting payments without a Wi-Fi connection, and a customizable interface. It’s a strong choice for businesses that don’t require specialized or advanced POS features.
Full review

Square POS

Payment processing fees
2.6% + 10¢ in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.
Monthly fee
$0.00 and up.
Learn more

on Square's website

Pros & Cons


  • Free plan option available.
  • Offers helpful related services, like payroll, that integrate closely with its POS system.
  • No long-term contracts or termination fees.
  • All plans include a free online store.


  • Can’t run on Windows devices.
  • Complex industries might prefer a more specialized system.

Full Review

Square is a standout point-of-sale system and often a good option for small businesses. Its wide range of features and hardware can be tailored to fit a variety of business types. The pricing is transparent, and the free plan is one of the most powerful no-cost POS systems we’ve seen. It also earned top spots in NerdWallet's best POS systems roundup and best business software lineup.
However, Square may not be the right fit for businesses that want a highly specialized POS system with advanced features. And if you’re a dedicated Windows user, the Square POS app won’t work with your device.

Square is best for businesses that:

  • Use iOS or Android devices. Square is not compatible with Windows devices.
  • Need general POS features and functionality. Square offers a robust POS system at no cost, but it does lack tools and features that more specialized and industry-specific systems offer.
  • Don’t want to commit to a long-term contract. You can easily start and stop use of Square without penalty. 

Deciding factors

Payment processing model
Payment processing fees
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • 3.3% plus 30 cents for invoices.
Monthly fee
  • $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.
  • $29 for Square Appointments Plus plan.
  • $60 for Square Restaurant Plus plan.
  • $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.
  • $89 for Square Retail Plus plan.
  • Custom pricing for Square Retail and Square Restaurant Premium plans.
Hardware cost
  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional reader) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).
  • $49 and up for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.
  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included; monthly financing available).
  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer (monthly financing available).
  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system (monthly financing available).
Contract length
No contract.
Customer support
Email, chat and online knowledge base. Phone support (1-855-700-6000) available Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time.

Where Square stands out

Simple, transparent prices

Square’s prices are displayed prominently on its website. Also, its payment processing fees are a flat percentage of each transaction, plus a flat fee. Clear pricing makes it easier to predict costs and compare your options.
Square transfers funds to your bank account on the next business day or — for a 1.75% fee — instantly. If you sign up for a Square Checking account, which comes with a debit card, instant transfers are available for free.
Use our Square fee calculator to figure out what fees you may incur for in-person and online transactions.

Diverse hardware lineup

Square offers an array of mobile and stationary POS hardware options, ranging from a quarter-sized reader that plugs into your phone, to a register with two touch screens, as well as hardware accessories, such as barcode scanners, receipt prints and cash drawers. With that flexibility, you can design a variety of checkout experiences: You can set up a register at a store, customers can pay at their table, or you can swipe cards out of a truck.
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.

Long list of POS features

Square’s overall lineup of features is impressive and can work for a variety of industries. In addition to the core features that come with Square POS, you have the option to add additional features that sync, like a loyalty program, email marketing, payroll or an online store. Although you might not use every feature in Square's system, having so many options in one ecosystem can be a time saver for small businesses.

No chargeback fees

Many providers that handle payment processing issue a chargeback fee to the merchant any time a customer disputes and/or reverses a credit or debit transaction. These fees can be anywhere from $20 to $100. Some providers will refund the chargeback fee to the merchant if the merchant wins the dispute; however, other providers have begun updating their terms to stipulate no refunds of chargeback fees. Square, therefore, stands out among the competition, as it does not issue a fee for chargebacks.

Where Square falls short

More specialized POS systems exist

Square offers different versions of its POS system for restaurants and retail. That said, some other POS systems designed for a specific industry might offer even more features that meet the nuanced needs of a business. If you want a restaurant POS system, Toast might be a better option because of features like multiple language support on its kitchen display system or its spill-proof and water-resistant hardware.

Doesn't run on Windows desktop or tablet

Square currently works on iOS and Android phones and tablets. It also works on Macs and Chromebooks. But it won’t work on a Windows device. Consider the Lightspeed Retail POS system if you want to use a Windows desktop or tablet device. Lightspeed Retail is compatible with both macOS and Windows operating systems.

Alternatives to Square


Why we like it: Clover’s flat-rate processing fees are right on par with Square’s. Although Clover doesn’t offer a free POS software plan as Square does, the starting price point is reasonable compared with many other providers. Clover’s hardware is pricier than Square’s, but it has a strong reputation for durable, high-quality hardware products. Clover’s retail POS system comes with a long list of relevant features that many merchants would find sufficient for running their business. Read our full Clover review.

PayPal Zettle

Why we like it: Like Square, PayPal Zettle offers its software free of charge. The Zettle POS can process all payment types, including cards, digital wallets, manually entered transactions and QR codes. Similar to Square, PayPal Zettle includes general POS functions like inventory management and reporting, as well as third-party software integrations for accounting and e-commerce. Read our full PayPal Zettle review.
Monthly fee: $0.

Compare POS providers

To compare POS options, check out NerdWallet’s list of point-of-sale systems that are best for small-business owners. Our recommendations are based on the provider’s pricing and transparency, software and hardware options, system functionality, customer support, software integrations and contract requirements.

Learn more

on Square's website


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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