- Highs: No monthly costs. Contract-free. Decent variety of features.
- Lows: No multi-currency support. No evening or weekend support.
- Best for: Freelancers and merchants needing commitment-free invoicing that does the job.
Merchants already using the Square Point of Sale app (with or without Square Reader) can also send invoices from that app for the same transaction fee, but without the full umbrella of features detailed below. It is also possible to invoice from any internet browser logged in to Square Dashboard, but again, the app has more invoice-specific features.
The recipient can pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, V Pay, Visa Electron and Maestro. The customer does not pay any fees to process the payment – it is only you who pay the same flat rate for all payments.
When an amount is paid, the money is deposited in your bank account the following working day, provided it was paid by 4pm. You can manually schedule what time deposits are “sent” to your account, or decide to have them settled sooner via Instant Deposit (costs extra).
All Square payments are shown in your main Square reports, so multichannel businesses do not need to collate transactions for accounting if they are only selling through Square.
Fees and costs
A huge benefit of Square is the transparency around prices. You don’t commit to ongoing usage, and you only pay one thing: a 2.5% transaction fee for all invoice payments received online. Payments manually registered in cash, cheque or via BACS are free, since these do not involve any processing on Square’s part. If the customer pays the invoice in person via Square Reader, the transaction fee is 1.75%.
There’s no charge for sending an invoice or using the features, so if no payments are processed, it is absolutely free.
|Transaction fee – online payments||2.5% (any card)|
|Transaction fee – card reader payments||1.75% (any card)|
|Transaction fee – cash, cheque, BACS, gift cards||Free|
|Instant Deposit (optional)||1% on top of card fee|
|Chargebacks||Free (conditions apply)|
If you need the money deposited earlier in your account, you can switch on the Instant Deposit feature, which adds an extra 1% to the transaction fee, but then you receive payments in your bank account within 20 minutes instead of the next day.
Chargebacks are free if you follow good practice for payments, e.g. can provide proof of the service or products provided to the customer disputing the payment. Square has a dedicated legal team to deal with such disputes, which is also free of charge.
Refunds do not cost anything to process either.
Recurring invoices: Rather than sending invoices manually every month, week or day you need to request payments, automate this by setting up recurring invoicing. You set up how often the invoice should be sent as well as the end date.
Payment reminders: Manually send payment reminders in the app, or decide in advance when exactly reminders should be sent to the customer. For instance, add reminders for a week or 3 days before, on the due date, or even any time after the due date if there has still been no payment.
Pick a theme colour for the banner and buttons on the invoice. Image: Square
Tipping: Allow clients to add a tip by switching on tipping for the particular invoice.
Request delivery address: If you need to ship items to customers, you can make it a requirement to enter a delivery address through the electronic invoice. This little detail could save you time chasing up the recipient in order to send a parcel.
Send estimates: If your customer needs to agree on a quote, you can choose to send an estimated amount on the invoice for the recipient to accept. Only after accepting the estimate will a normal invoice be sent to that person.
Track invoices in the app. Photo: Square
Request deposits: Partial payments are possible though the invoice if you request a deposit. You decide what amount should be paid as a deposit for the goods or service, and the customer will be required to pay this and then the remaining amount at a later time.
Customer library: Rather than entering customer information over and over again, you can save client details in the Square account. This way, you only need to add a person from a list to the invoice.
The customer can voluntarily opt to have their card details saved on the system, if you prefer processing payments for them without having the customer submitting details every time.
Tracking: The app shows an overview of outstanding, paid, cancelled and past-due-date invoices so you can track payments wherever you are. If you cancel an invoice, an optional notification can be sent to the client. Individual invoices and estimates even show whether they have been viewed by the customer (so they can’t get away with saying they didn’t see it!).
Register payments yourself: If you’ve received money in cash, by cheque or BACS, register the payment through the app yourself. If you have card details (for example, given over the phone), manually input these to process it through Square. If you have Square Reader, the app can connect with it via Bluetooth for direct payment via chip and PIN or contactless.
With Square Reader, you can process invoice payments via contactless or chip card if the customer is present. Photo: Square
Square offers a lot of additional tools in general, plus the ability to integrate with partner platforms such as WooCommerce and Xero. Invoicing is just one facet of Square’s entire offering for small-business merchants.
Who is Square suitable for?
Square is recommended to small businesses, entrepreneurs and sole traders within many kinds professions. Since the company is widely known for its compact card reader for face-to-face payments, it is ideal for the many users already using Square Payments in store or out-and-about serving clients.
Professionals with international clients expecting to pay in another currency than British Pounds may feel restricted by the inability to charge in anything other than Pound Sterling.
Certain business types are prohibited, but only those considered “high risk”. This includes trades like direct marketing, property investment services and dues for membership clubs.
Customer service and user feedback
Customer support is available to phone or message between 5am and 9pm from Monday to Friday. There is no weekend support. This is usually okay for Square users who generally find it very easy to navigate the system.
On the negative end, some customers have complained about sudden account holds for no apparent reason. This could be due to Square detecting payments that go against their terms, so it is a little hard to determine the extent of Square’s fault around this.
Invoices can be accessed in the app and Square account in-browser. Image: Square
How to get started
Getting started with Square Invoices is straightforward. On the website, you have to fill in an online form with personal, business and bank account information. After submitting the required information, it takes up to four working days for Square to verify your bank account.
Once the bank account is connected (i.e. approved), invoice payments will settle there automatically. It is, however, possible to accept invoice payments immediately after registering with Square, but payments will then be held in the Square account until your bank account is linked up.
Square Invoices is undoubtedly one the most convenient ways for small businesses and individual merchants to send invoices today. You don’t enter into a long contract, and the absence of a paid subscription is a big advantage for those living sparingly on a month-to-month budget. Businesses with more advanced needs would have to pay for alternative invoicing software.