November 13, 2019 1:00 PM PT

Square Alternatives

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Square is one of the most powerful multifunctional POS systems on the market. But is it the best choice for your business? Learn more about Square alternatives in our guide.

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With pay-as-you-go pricing and no monthly fees, Square is the preferred option for many established merchants and businesses.

But it isn't right for everyone. As a payment aggregator, there are risks of frozen funds and canceled accounts with little warning. The flat-rate pricing may also not be feasible for every business structure.

Read on to see how the most popular Square alternatives stack up.

PayPal Here

PayPal's product for mobile credit card processing offers almost the same flat-rate pricing as Square. You'll also get instant access to the funds in your PayPal account once you are an established seller.

It's an easy way to manage mobile, online, and in-person payments. However, PayPal Here isn't able to collect offline payments or manage inventory—two features that Square offers.

Pros

  • Can manage sales, invoices, and process credit cards
  • No monthly, setup, or cancellation fees
  • Flat-rate pricing for all transactions

Cons

  • Funds may be held in reserve for up to 30 days
  • Customer service is lacking
  • Account may get canceled even after processing transactions

Who Should Use It

  • Sellers that process low volumes
  • New businesses wanting pay-as-you-go processing

Intuit GoPayment (QuickBooks GoPayment)

QuickBooks GoPayment seamlessly integrates with your QuickBooks Online account. While you will pay a monthly subscription fee, the amount of time saved can be worth it.

A QuickBooks Online subscription lets you process invoices just like you would with Square. Where it falls short, however, is in the fees. A $15 charge costs $0.61 with GoPayment vs $0.49 with Square. If you process a lot of small transactions, you may overpay with GoPayment.

Pros

  • Free mobile card reader (magstripe or chip)
  • No setup costs or monthly subscription fees
  • No long-term contract or cancellation fees

Cons

  • Hefty processing fees, especially for small transactions
  • QuickBooks needed for invoicing and sales reporting
  • Fewer POS system features
  • No e-commerce options

Who Should Use It

  • Mid-sized businesses with higher transactions
  • Current QuickBooks Online subscribers

Stripe

Stripe lets users create a completely customized checkout experience. It controls what customers see at checkout and on their receipts.

Because of its customization options, Stripe can be much more complicated to implement than Square. It's an ideal choice if you have a developer on staff to program these customizations.

Businesses with programming capabilities have the ability to build a powerful custom POS system that can accept a variety of payments, including credit cards, debit cards, and mobile wallet payments.

Pros

  • No monthly fees, subscription fees, or cancelation fees
  • Operate month to month
  • Exceptional developer tools
  • Accept international payments from 100+ countries

Cons

  • Programming needed for Stripe Terminal integration
  • Possible holds on funds or account cancellation for high-risk industries
  • No free credit card reader

Who Should Use It

  • Companies with a developer on staff
  • Businesses that take online and in-person payments

Clover Go

Clover Go is a scaled down version of Clover's full POS. While it offers the ability to accept payments on the go, it doesn't offer full-fledged POS features. Even though Square is a mobile card reader, many can argue that it offers the full functionality of many full POS systems.

Clover stands out for its merchant account stability. With Square, you share a merchant account with hundreds of others while Clover offers exclusive merchant accounts. You have to qualify for your own account (no automatic enrollment for the credit card processor), but there is less risk of cancellation or frozen funds.

Clover Go doesn't run as well on its own, but it's a logical choice if you are already a Clover POS customer. If you haven't started processing credit cards yet and don't plan to purchase a full-fledged POS, opting for a payment aggregator like Square may be the better option.

Pros

  • No complicated setup or lag time
  • Customize discounts, tips, and taxes
  • Easy-to-use app store with powerful POS

Cons

  • Internet connection needed to process payments
  • Monthly subscription fee
  • Limited inventory options without larger software package

Who Should Use It

  • Current Clover users
  • Merchants that want their own merchant account

SumUp

SumUp offers a good card reader, but it's not a full-fledged POS. Merchants can accept credit card payments for a lower fee than Square—but only with an internet connection. If you aren't looking for inventory, scheduling, or robust reporting options, SumUp offers a viable solution.

The SumUp card reader costs $19 and holds a charge for up to 500 transactions. Setup takes minutes and you can connect to your smartphone with Bluetooth.

Like Square, SumUp pays merchants daily but the actual transfer could take between 2 and 3 business days depending on your bank's policies.

Pros

  • Flat-rate pricing
  • Accept tap, chip, or swipe payments, all with one card reader
  • No monthly subscription fees, cancellation fees, or hidden fees
  • Accept all major credit cards and international credit cards for the same fee

Cons

  • No inventory functions in its POS
  • The list of restricted businesses is rather lengthy
  • SumUp doesn't offer an invoicing option

Who Should Use It

  • Merchants just starting out that don't need robust POS features

  • Merchants that process infrequent credit card transactions

Payment Depot

Payment Depot offers payment processing options for in-person, online, or over-the-phone payments. Many of their pricing plans include a free mobile reader.

However, you are charged for their service whether you use it or not. That means seasonal merchants or fledgling businesses may overpay for credit card processing services that they don't use or need.

The platform offers a dedicated merchant account from First Data, so you have a lower chance of frozen funds or canceled accounts. However, the underwriting process is a bit more rigorous.

Each Payment Depot plan has a surcharge for credit card transactions ranging from $0.05–$0.15. Funds are deposited in your account within 24–48 hours of processing the credit card.

Pros

  • Month-to-month contract with no cancellation fees
  • Can reprogram your equipment for you
  • 24/7 customer service for subscribers

Cons

  • Monthly subscription fee ranges from $49–$199/month
  • Multiple fees
  • Won't accept high-risk merchants

Who Should Use It

  • High volume merchants
  • Established businesses that know their monthly processing volume

Payline Data

Unlike Square, Payline Data isn't a payment aggregator. Although they don't directly process the transactions, they provide individual merchant accounts. This lowers your risk of frozen funds and canceled accounts.

Payline Data offers mobile credit card processing, like Square, as well as in-person and online payment options. They charge additional monthly fees for the payment gateway and virtual terminal.

The fees are higher than Square's. If you want an individual merchant account and faster deposit times (two business days), the higher fees may be worth it.

Pros

  • Transparent interchange-plus pricing with free PCI compliance
  • Month-to-month pricing
  • No cancellation fees
  • Offers equipment for in-person, mobile, online, and over-the-phone transactions

Cons

  • $25 monthly minimum
  • Virtual terminal and each payment gateway costs an additional $10/month
  • No inventory capabilities

Who Should Use It

  • Merchants that want their own merchant ID and account
  • Merchants wanting a month-to-month contract

Payanywhere

Payanywhere offers a powerful POS similar to Square. However, the mobile processing fees are slightly lower, which makes it a great option for those who only process mobile payments.

The platform doesn't offer an online store. If a majority of your business comes from online sales, it isn't the best option.

Payanywhere offers a free mobile card reader for swipe and chip payments (additional readers cost $29.95 each). You can upgrade to a reader that also accepts contactless payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay for $49.95.

Payanywhere offers a wide variety of equipment, though you'll pay monthly fees for each device. Read the fine print carefully before making a purchase decision.

Pros

  • A powerful POS
  • Accept payments offline
  • Track inventory, set up recurring invoices, and manage your POS from any device

Cons

  • High invoicing pricing: 3.49% plus $0.19
  • Monthly inactivity fee of $3.99 for businesses without activity for 12 months
  • Monthly software fees for each device

Who Should Use It

  • Mobile businesses that take fewer online payments
  • Businesses that have at least a few credit card transactions each month

Other Credit Card Processors to Consider

Here are a few more payment processors to consider:

  • ShopKeep
    ShopKeep offers features similar to Square, but their hefty monthly fees and payment processing fees can add up quickly. It integrates with other payment processing systems, which may be viable for existing businesses that already have a processor.

  • Shopify Lite
    Shopify Lite is a cloud-based POS system that offers a mobile POS system for a small monthly fee. While you only get Buy buttons for your website, landing page, or social media pages, it's great for those that only sell small amounts online. Shopify has its own Shopify Payments processor that integrates all aspects of your business into one system.

  • Lightspeed
    Lightspeed offers payment solutions, an integrated POS system, and stellar customer support to help you with any problems. Lightspeed charges monthly fees for its POS as well as interchange-plus pricing. This makes the cost of their payment processing similar to Square.

Bottom Line

Before you choose a credit card processor, consider what your business needs. Will the payment processor need to integrate with your existing POS? Are you starting from scratch and need the full gamut of services?

Once you know what you're looking for, compare the pricing to your estimated monthly sales to determine if Square or an alternative is the better fit for your business.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

More from CreditDonkey:


Square Review


Credit Card Processing Fees


Stripe Review



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How Much Does Square Charge

Square's mobile card reader lets small businesses accept credit card payments. But how much does Square cost? Read this review to see if it is good for your business.

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