Tyro and Square are two competing payment platforms with similar offerings.

One is an Australian stalwart that has a strong focus on familiar EFTPOS technologies, while the other is an international payments giant that has been expanding their online payment solutions over the past few years.

Tyro offers tailor-made POS solutions, its own business banking system and old-school EFTPOS terminals. Square offers several card terminals and a register, as well as a website shop front builder and many other industry-specific apps and services.

Let’s check out the main differences between these two popular payment services.

Tyro Square
Credit card machines* EFTPOS machines:
$29* or $39*/mo rental each
Reader for app:
$59 to buy
Standalone terminal:
$439 to buy
POS apps Integrates with external POS systems Point of Sale: Free
Retail: $0-$109/mo
Restaurants: $0-$129/mo
Appointments: $0-$79/mo
Online payments Ecommerce integrations available Broad range of online payment methods
Loans
Deposits Same day in Tyro Bank Account, 1-2 business days in other bank account 1-2 business days to bank account

*Excluding GST.

Tyro Square
EFTPOS machines:
$29* or $39*/mo rental each
Reader for app:
$59 to buy
Standalone terminal:
$439 to buy
POS apps
Integrates with external POS systems Point of Sale: Free
Retail: $0-$109/mo
Restaurants: $0-$129/mo
Appointments: $0-$79/mo
Online payments
Ecommerce integrations available Broad range of online payment methods
Business loans
Deposits
Same day in Tyro Bank Account, 1-2 business days in other bank account 1-2 business days to bank account

*Excluding GST.

Card machines – modern features vs. old-school

When it comes to the hardware you’ll use in your store, the difference between these two brands is extremely apparent. Tyro still offers rentals of legacy machines which they call Countertop and Mobile.

The countertop units are WiFi- and Ethernet-compatible, while the mobile units have WiFi connectivity alongside a 3G backup. The countertop units can connect with multiple tills and both can accept contactless payments. Recently, there have been some serious technical issues but they seemed to have been resolved.

Photo: Tyro

Tyro EFTPOS mobile terminal

Tyro mobile EFTPOS terminal.

Photo: Tyro

Tyro EFTPOS countertop terminal

Tyro countertop EFTPOS terminal.

If you’re looking to purchase a modern card reader outright, and for an incredibly low price, then Square is your best bet. For $59 including GST, you can get your hands on a Square Reader – a minimal card reader with a tiny footprint. This doesn’t have a screen and must be used with a phone or tablet app.

Square also sells Terminal – a standalone unit with a touchscreen and built-in POS software that connects via WiFi only. This full-featured machine will run you $439 including GST.

Photo: Square

Square Reader and phone

Square Reader works with a mobile app.

Photo: Square

Square Terminal countertop

Square Terminal works independently.

Then you have Square Register ($1,099 incl. GST), which is a large touchscreen register with Square Point of Sale software built in (with options to upgrade to specialised Square POS software). It has a touchscreen card terminal that attaches to its front or detaches if you want to place it closer to the customer.

Photo: Square

Square Register example

Square Register is an all-in-one POS tablet register with software and a card terminal attached.

Square POS also accepts a variety of cards (Visa, Mastercard, eftpos, American Express) as well as gift cards and both Apple Pay and Google pay. Tyro accepts all of these payment options, as well as UnionPay and Diners Club. It’s worth noting to accept some of the major international credit cards with Tyro, you will require external contracts with those card providers.

Fees – simple against elaborate pricing

There’s quite a big difference in how these two businesses operate. Square has consistently offered no lock-in contracts and no monthly fees for its customers. Tyro, on the other hand, still charges rental fees for its terminals, and these come with inevitable service fees. Let’s have a deeper look at how they compare:

Tyro Square
Contract lock-in None None
Setup fee None None
Monthly fees $29-$39*/mo. EFTPOS rental
$10*/mo. service fee
None
Swipe, chip & tap rate From 1.1%* per transaction Square Reader:
1.9%
Terminal & Register:
1.6%
Key-in & online rate Base rate + 0.15%* 2.2%
Added fee for non-Australian cards 0.4% None
Currency conversion fee 0.4% None
Settlement Free Free
Refunds Free Free
Chargebacks Free Free

*Excluding GST.

Tyro Square
Contract lock-in
None None
Setup fee
None None
Monthly fees
$29-$39*/mo. EFTPOS rental
$10*/mo. service fee
None
Swipe, chip & tap rate
From 1.1%* per transaction Square Reader:
1.9%
Terminal & Register:
1.6%
Key-in & online rate
Base rate + 0.15%* 2.2%
Added fee for non-Australian cards
0.4% None
Currency conversion fee
0.4% None
Settlement
Free Free
Refunds
Free Free
Chargebacks
Free Free

*Excluding GST.

As you can see, deciding to use Tyro as your EFTPOS terminal is going to incur a lot of ongoing fees. This includes terminal rental fees and service fees every month. Before adding GST, Tyro EFTPOS terminals will cost you at least $39/month. A hefty price when compared with the one-time payment for Square’s readers.

This is balanced out however, by the much lower transaction fees that Tyro charges. The rates vary between the types of cards being used, and they are in part tailored for the merchant. If your monthly turnover is below $20k, rates start at 1.1% per transaction (depending on the type of card accepted).

Consequently, the fees are a tad under those of Square that charges 1.9% for all card payments through Square Reader (that costs $59 incl. GST) and 1.6% for card payments through Square Terminal ($439 incl. GST) and Square Register ($1,099 with GST).

Tyro also charges less per transaction where details need to be keyed in: a base transaction fee in line with the EFTPOS rates plus an additional 0.15% per transaction.

That being said, Tyro adds a 0.4% fee for transactions with a foreign card plus a further 0.4% if currency conversion was applied.

In the long run, these small percentages could play a big role in determining which will save you more money.

Settlement and bank accounts – quick payments all-round

Tyro has an incredibly inviting premise for their own bank accounts – super low interest rates and no fees. When integrated with their POS technology, flexible settlements are available 7 days a week, meaning that transactions are kept up to date regardless of when they occur. This also means that if merchants go all in on the Tyro ecosystem, cash from sales is available instantly – a very convenient feature.

Any payments that are accepted through Square are sent directly to your linked bank account. Unlike Tyro, Square does not offer bank accounts, but can accept payments into most Australian bank accounts linked to your business. Settlements are not quite as quick as Tyro, but any transactions should be seen in your bank account by the following 1-2 business days.

POS integrations – tailor-made industry solutions

As the more established brand in Australia’s EFTPOS industry, Tyro integrates with over 300 point of sale (POS) and practice management system (PMS) systems. From hospitality and retail to mobile taxi terminals, Tyro has a lot of choices when it comes to point of sale integrations.

Tyro also provides simplified and automated processes such as end-of-day reconciliation, report generating and a more robust cash flow management system.

Photo: Tyro

Tyro POS integration

Tyro integrates with many POS software options incl. Vend, Hike and Lightspeed.

If you are looking for industry-specific integrations, both Tyro and Square have great offerings.

Tyro Connect is designed to help hospitality-based businesses use their favourite apps to manage food ordering. The Tyro site also states that bookings and menu management will soon become a part of this integration.

Square has its own free app, Square Point of Sale, and also provides industry-specific POS systems (both free and paid) that help businesses zero in on the exact solution they need. These apps include:

  • Square for Restaurants: Allows users to manage seating, menu and ordering.

  • Square for Retail: Ideal for selling in-store and online. Has a focus on inventory management and client management systems.

  • Square Appointments: Manage your schedule and availability from one place, all while allowing clients to book online.

By combining Square’s card terminals and register with a Square account, merchants can keep track of all payments, items, inventory, analytics and ecommerce stats.

Photo: Square

Square has a wide choice of POS systems and online integrations (Square for Retail pictured).

No shortage of ways to sell online

Both Tyro and Square allow customers to make transactions online, but as far as well-rounded ecommerce solutions go, Square leaves Tyro in the dust.

Square Online (formerly Square Online Store) is a dedicated website builder that acts as the hub for your online business. This something that Tyro does not offer, but Tyro does have an online payment gateway which is basically a checkout to integrate in your existing online store.

Only Square has a pay-by-link solution (called Square Online Checkout). It allows you to define a product or service with a fixed price and generate a payment link for it. You can embed this as a button on a website, print a QR code and send the URL for a remote payment, or even create a donation link allowing customers to enter an amount to pay.

Remote payment method Tyro Square
Email invoices
Telephone payments
Recurring payments
Payment gateway
Online store builder
Payment links (to send)
Buy buttons (for website)
Remote
payment
Tyro Square
Email invoices
Telephone payments
Recurring payments
Payment gateway
Online store builder
Payment links (to send)
Buy buttons (for website)

Square has the edge again when it comes to a smooth experience, because all the different payment methods are automatically integrated so you can monitor payments in the Dashboard (back-end Square account in a browser) at all times. Tyro also has an eCommerce Portal account, but this is separate from the Tyro Portal for EFTPOS reporting.

Photo: Square

With Square, you can build an online store or menu page associated with a QR code for contact-free takeaway ordering.

To send an email invoice (eInvoice, as Tyro calls it), Tyro users will have to make a trip to the eCommerce Portal and access their eInvoices in PDF form. While in the portal, merchants can easily set up recurring payments with saved billing information from customers.

Square allows you to log into either Square Dashboard, Square POS app or Invoices app to send out your email invoice – quite a few options. It’s then up to you whether you send a single or recurring email invoice.

If you need to accept payments via phone, Tyro and Square can manage that too. Square’s Virtual Terminal comes as standard with your account, while Tyro accepts mail orders and telephone orders (MOTO) through their portal if you choose it.

Customer service and reviews

Tyro has a 24/7 Australian based support team. Their primary form of contact is via their website’s contact form, and they suggest that this be used for non-urgent matters. For those situations where things are a little more pressing, you can contact them via phone.

For those who would like to solve their problems on the resources page, customers will find the knowledge a little vague and slightly unhelpful. This is reflected in the company’s poor Trustpilot review score.

Many users have complained of not hearing back from form submissions for over a week, if at all. Couple this with extremely long wait times on the phone, and it seems as though Tyro may have some issues in the support department.

Photo: Tyro

Some merchants have no issues with Tyro, but reviews talk about technical and service issues.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the widely praised Square. Their support staff can be contacted via phone or email during the regular business hours of 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday. Unfortunately for customers, there is no weekend or evening support, meaning you’re all on your own if something goes awry during the busy weekend rush.

Like Tyro, there is an online Help Centre with frequently asked questions. And as a large international company, customers have access to a worldwide network of people using the same technology all across the globe, so finding the right answers to help you out is a little simpler than with Tyro.

On the Trustpilot review website, Square has an overwhelmingly positive rating from almost seven times the amount of reviews when compared with Tyro.

Our verdict on Tyro or Square: there’s lots to like

Tyro is a great choice for brick and mortar stores who are used to the old-school EFTPOS systems of the past. With increasing ecommerce and banking features, it acts as a solid step in the right direction towards more modern and feature-packed payment options.

It is a portable and robust system that makes light work of tedious tasks such as reconciliation and reporting, meaning you won’t be spending as much time keeping track of transactions and settlements. And its POS integration is beyond extensive.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really stack up when compared to online-based systems or its own POS systems. With no real POS apps or website builders to speak of, there are definitely much better choices if you are running an online business.

Alternatively, Square offers incredible value for money when it comes to its hardware, apps and online checkout services. With no lock-in contracts and no ongoing fees, it is a no-brainer for any budget-conscious retailer looking to add a dynamic touch to their POS processes.

With simple invoicing and payment link options, Square has really left its mark in the online payments landscape and has now stepped it up even further with its ever-growing line-up of card terminals and registers.

And if for any reason any of that goes wrong, the support offered by Square in Australia is second to none. Support might not be offered during non-business hours, but when they help, they actually help.

With simple invoicing and payment link options, Square has really left its mark in the online payments landscape and has now stepped it up even further with its ever-growing line-up of card terminals and registers.

At the end of the day, if your business is looking to take a leap forward and have an all-inclusive POS system that is following advancing technological trends, and all with no contracts or fees, then it’s going to be hard to beat Square.

If you need your cash settled quickly, and you’re not too concerned about linked apps and online software, then Tyro might be the choice for you.