How good is the Square offer in the UK ?

Square Review UK

Square is the innovator in payment processing! The American company, founded by Jack Dorsey (of Twitter) in 2009, has inspired European companies like SumUp and Zettle. Having conquered the American market, it now aims to export its model to Europe.

  1. The payment innovator
  2. Pricing analysis
  3. Comparison of different terminals
  4. Overview of various services available on their platform
  5. Comparison vs SumUp

The payment innovator

Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey started the company in 2009 to help small businesses accept card payments easily. The founders thus developed an iconic product. A small square card reader (hence the name Square) that connects to the audio jack of the first iPhones.

At that time, this was truly a small technological feat. The company quickly became a massive success and soon attracted millions of American merchants.

They gradually added many services related to payment, adopting the motto “More than payment.” Square in the US provides a variety of services to help local businesses. These services include payment terminals, online payments, website building, point of sale software, payroll, bank accounts, and credit services.

They are now embarking on a quest to conquer the world, trying to export the recipes for their success.

Square’s payment offering for the UK

Square caters to small businesses and independents. They are therefore competing with the two European giants, SumUp and Zettle.

The model is as follows:

  • Terminal purchase: from £19 to £99 (depending on the model)
  • They charge a commission only on transactions.
  • No subscription fees
  • No commitment

Payment commissions

They do not charge a subscription fee. You only pay a commission on your transactions.

The commission model is as follows:

  • In-store payment 1.75%
  • Online payment (UK cards) 1.4% + 25p
  • Online payment (non-UK cards) 2.5% + 25p
  • Virtual terminal 2.5%


The readers are ultra-competitive. They are equivalent to SumUp’s, which are already incredibly affordable.

  • Square reader £19 + VAT
  • Square terminal £149 + VAT
  • Square Stand £99 + VAT

The commission rates and reader prices are comparable to those of SumUp or Zettle. This model is good for small businesses with few transactions, but not for larger businesses. They may prefer traditional banking or Yavin.

Comparison of different readers

They offers two readers and a stand for merchants.

Square Reader: small but not convenient for contact payments with PIN code

The Square Reader works by connecting via Bluetooth to the app available on iOS and the Play Store.

The app controls the terminal. The operation is the same as for the SumUp Air. You complete your cart in the app, and when you click on Bill, the terminal wakes up so your customer can present their card.

However, there is a difference from the SumUp Air: the Square Reader does not have any buttons. This makes contact payment, e.g when the customer must insert their card into the reader, much more lengthy and cumbersome.

Indeed, the customer must enter their PIN code on your smartphone. We see this as a blocking flaw, as it will significantly slow down your transactions.

Contactless payment is common, but many still use PIN codes for a lot of payments.

Square Reader

Square Stand

Essentially, it’s a stylish iPad stand that enables you to seamlessly integrate your Square reader. The stand rotates, allowing you to turn your iPad around so your customer can enter their PIN code during payment.

We believe this method will not be effective. It may also cause delays in payments. This could be concerning for customers. They will have to enter their PIN on a different screen.

Square terminal

The Square terminal appears to us as the terminal suited for the British market (unlike the Square reader). The design is particularly successful.

Its large touchscreen is handy if you use the various services, especially the point of sale software. This will allow you to have your cash register directly controllable from your terminal. This is suitable for food trucks or temporary sales points.

However, the Square terminal has several significant flaws:

  • It’s not a portable device: It lacks a 4G SIM card. It can only establish a connection through Wifi or Ethernet. This limitation hinders its portability, for instance, during deliveries.
  • Furthermore, its triangular form does not fit comfortably in the hand. Its actual position is on a countertop.

Square Terminal

Presentation of the different services offered

A complete point of sale software

The point of sale software is generalist and complete. Businesses with simple needs will find it suitable. The interface is intuitive.

You can notably:

  • Create categories
  • Manage your stock
  • Manage employee access

Square also offers a version of its point of sale software dedicated to restaurants with “Square Restaurant”.

Square Remote Payment

The offer is truly omnichannel. Square allows you to accept payments with their terminals but also online. Being able to manage all your payments on a single interface is a significant advantage.

Square lets you send payment links or take credit card numbers over the phone for remote payments.

Real online store

To go further, Square can assist you in creating a real online store.

Two options are available to you.

  1. If you do not have a website yet, Square offers a simplified site editor that will allow you to quickly have a published site
  2. If you already have a website, you can add payment via Square through payment buttons

Online payment

Application platform

Square offers numerous services with its 360 offering.

If you desire an external solution, you can integrate it into your system through the app store. Prestashop, Wix, or Deliveroo are examples of what you can find there.

Comparison vs SumUp

Square positions itself directly as an alternative to the leader in payment solutions for small businesses, SumUp.

The deal is like this: Buy cheap terminals, then get a subscription-free offer with billing based on commissions.

The commission is slightly higher than the SumUp commission. And we recommend using SumUp for now, as they have more experience in the British market.

The main difference is in the terminals.

SumUp Air or Solo terminals will be much simpler to use than the Square Reader. Having to enter the PIN code on the terminal seems important in the UK.

We also prefer SumUp’s approach to the autonomous SumUp Solo terminal and its base. The Square terminal lacks portability because of the absence of a SIM card.

Our Opinion on Square’s Offer

It could potentially become the ideal tool for launching your business. The services are numerous and promising.

However, some initial flaws make us prefer the established players.

  • If you are a small business with occasional payment needs, then SumUp terminals seem more effective.
  • For large companies with many transactions and complex needs, we suggest considering Yavin’s offer or from various banks.
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Square Reader – Review, Test, and Overview
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