Our rating(4/5)
The most comprehensive free POS app for tablets and phones in the UK, with the caveat you can only take cards with Square Reader.
Square Point of Sale is a highly user-friendly system with all the standard POS functions small businesses need, regardless of whether you sell face-to-face or remotely.

Pros: Easy to use with intuitive checkout. Can be set up fast. Free app with no commitment.

Cons: Square Reader is the only compatible card machine. Support only on weekdays during work hours. Staff permissions cost extra.

Choose if: You simply want to start taking payments without commitment or monthly costs.

In a nutshell

The Square Point of Sale app can be used on iPhone, iPad or Android devices as a main sales hub. Since everything is stored in the cloud, you can log in and use the app from anywhere, although certain things are only available from a browser.

As opposed to other EPOS systems, there are no monthly price plans to choose from – it really is a one-size system that is free to use. The only fees are Square Reader’s 1.75% transaction fee for contactless and chip card payments and the 2.5% transaction fee for keyed-in, swipe and remote payments.

The system also allows you to integrate with a wide range of paid partner apps, should you need more advanced tools.

Want to accept cards with Square POS?

Get started with Square POS for free with the card reader – pay just £19. No monthly fees or contract to worry about.

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  • Square Reader price
Link to offer

Costs and fees

The Point of Sale app and Dashboard functionalities are free to use, as opposed to paying a subscription which is how most other EPOS systems work. The Dashboard includes a free Virtual Terminal as well, which other providers normally would charge a monthly fee for. Extra staff management functions do, however, cost £3 per month for each employee account. If you want to integrate the POS with ecommerce or other online tools, this is paid for separately through the chosen platforms.

SoftwarePrice
Point of Sale app & Dashboard featuresFree
Elaborate employee permissions£3/month per employee
Partner apps (e.g. ecommerce, scheduling tools)Varies
SoftwarePrice
Point of Sale app & Dashboard featuresFree
Elaborate employee permissions£3/month per employee
Partner apps (e.g. ecommerce, scheduling tools)Varies

To take chip and PIN and contactless payments, you pay £19 + VAT for Square Reader with free delivery. There is one year warranty on the device, with the option to return the purchase within the first 30 days. Add a charging dock for an additional £19 + VAT, or get the complete Square Stand package for £109 + VAT including iPad stand, Square Reader and dock for the reader.

HardwarePrice
Square Reader£19 + VAT
Dock for Square Reader£19 + VAT
Square Stand incl. Square Reader & Dock£109 + VAT
HardwarePrice
Square Reader£19
Dock for Square Reader£19 + VAT
Square Stand incl. Square Reader & Dock£109 + VAT

The card reader accepts chip and contactless cards and mobile wallets via NFC. These cost a 1.75% transaction fee for contactless and chip card payments and 2.5% for keyed-in and remote payments via the app, virtual terminal, ecommerce and invoicing.

Next-working-day deposits to your bank account are free, but for 1% in addition to the transaction fee, you can get Instant Deposits into your bank account in just 20 minutes from the transaction.

Card paymentsFee
Chip, contactless, swipe1.75% per transaction
Keyed-in, invoicing, remote payments2.5% per transaction
Instant Deposits1% in addition to transaction fee
Card paymentsFee
Chip, contactless, swipe1.75% per transaction
Keyed-in, invoicing, remote payments2.5% per transaction
Instant Deposits1% in addition to transaction fee

Ease of checkout

The Point of Sale app allows you to switch between product interfaces grouped into categories of your choice. You see either a visual grid overview of products or list of categories. Physical products can be added to the product library, so you can just tap to add them to the shopping cart. If you don’t have the appropriate item in the product menu or sell a custom service, you can just add the amount to the bill.

After you tap “Charge”, you pick your payment method (invoice included in options). You’ll need to be connected with the Square Reader already via Bluetooth to take contactless and chip payments at this stage. You’ll also need to be prepared to pass your smartphone or tablet to the customer for PIN entry if using a chip card, since the keypad will be on its screen.

You can split the tender as well, allowing customers to pay e.g. some of the amount in cash and the rest with card. This could prevent some awkward situations where the customer may not have enough cash or card balance for the bill.

Product menu in list mode (1), add product screen (2), split-payment options (3), payment methods at checkout (4). Photos: Mobile Transaction

After the payment is processed, it gives you the option to send the receipt via email or text, or you can print it with a connected printer. Receipts can be customised in the backend of your account so it pretty much includes all the details you want.

The beauty of this system is that even the first time you’re using it, the checkout process is straightforward enough to get on the spot. However, we highly recommend adding all the possible discounts, VAT info, products and prices in advance so your receipts contain all the payment information customers will want on record.

Features

Square Point of Sale’s features are more than just basic, with its little extras here and there that help you run your overall business more smoothly. For example, stock level alerts elevate the standard inventory functions, and gift cards are a nice extra that’s not usually included in POS apps. Let’s have a closer look at some of the noteworthy features.

Inventory management: The inventory library allows you to keep track of stock levels, and you can differentiate between product types and add detailed descriptions and options around these. Using this also allows you to analyse your sales in relation to what you sell and who is selling what. When your items are low in stock, you can receive stock level alerts to remind you of this.

Square open order list and receipt

Open order list and example of a receipt.

Open orders and tipping: Cafés and other establishments where you run a tab for customers can use the open ticket features to juggle multiple orders at the same time. These can be edited, merged and split in to separate bills. Each order can be marked as eat-in, takeaway, for delivery or pick-up, and you can add tips to any payment by adding a custom amount to the bill.

Even though Settings give you more complicated tipping options, when we switched on these settings, tipping did not show in the app as an explicit feature.

Invoicing: Send or schedule detailed invoices directly from the app, track the payments and see which ones are overdue. Invoices can include file attachments, and you can either send them by email or share an invoice URL manually. Customers who haven’t paid can receive payment reminders.

Customer loyalty: Create customer profiles that collect their sales history, save card details for next time, and let you text or email follow-up messages. Special discounts and vouchers can be applied to transactions, even time-limited offers can be automated. Get customer feedback through the digital receipts.

Refunds: Refunding is free and flexible through the app. Choose between refunding individual items you pick from the transaction, or set a custom amount.

Employee management: Create multiple employee accounts that can sign in to the app separately.

Square customer feedback on digital receipt

Customers can rate their experience in your shop from their digital receipt. Photo: Square

At the start and end of each shift, staff members can clock in and out, storing work hours in the backend, or you can manually create timesheets for your staff. The only staff permission you can set for free is whether the person can issue refunds, but standard ‘Mobile’ users will have limited permissions compared to the Admin user. For an extra fee month per employee account, you can customise detailed permissions.

Offline mode: Is your network connection unreliable? Operate the checkout flow and take cash payments when the app is not connected to the internet. The system will sync the new data when back online.

During offline use, not all functions are available. Photo: Mobile Transaction

Gift cards: You can sell gift cards through the app and even offer a choice of card designs covering birthdays, get well cards, thank you cards, and other common occasions. This features doesn’t cost extra – you just pay the normal card transaction fee per gift card sold. At checkout, it will give you the option to accept the gift card as a means of payment.

Square eGift card designs as seen in app Settings

eGift Card designs as seen in app settings. Photo: Mobile Transaction

Multiple location management: Businesses who operate in more than one location (e.g. if you have more than one shop) can add multiple locations to the Square account. Analyse sales per location or transfer transactions to separate bank accounts according to preference.

Reports and analytics: Because sales are recorded in real time, you can access the backend account to analyse sales figures any time from your browser. It’s possible to run custom reports of sales, analysing various aspects like discounts, payment methods, sales trends and voids. At the end of each day, you receive a daily sales report in your email inbox. Should you need to send or store your sales reports, you can export these to Excel or Xero.

We should mention that some features are only available on iPad, but the far majority of POS functions will work on any device compatible with Square.

Payments

Square Point of Sale only works with Square Reader for contactless and chip and PIN payments. With this comes a complimentary swipe reader which is only for international cards using swipe. If you prefer using another card machine, you will need to use a different POS system compatible with that terminal.

Square Reader differs from other UK card machines since it has no keypad on the reader itself, so customers need to enter their PIN on the smartphone or tablet screen using the Point of Sale app.

Technologically, this is no problem and has officially been deemed secure, but some sceptical UK customers may need a little convincing to feel safe entering their PIN this way.

A way to combat this is using the Square Stand for iPad, which can be swivelled between the till assistant and customer for PIN entry. The stand makes it look more professional, so you avoid second thoughts from the customer’s side. Furthermore, the Square Stand has a swipe slot at the front for magnetic stripe cards.

Square enables you to take payments whether your customer is present or not, although transaction costs are a bit higher for remote and keyed-in payments. You can take telephone, mail order or online payments through Square’s virtual terminal by manually entering card and transaction details. This handy feature is accessible when you log in to your Square account in a browser. Keyed-in card transactions can be done at checkout in the mobile app.

Through both the app and browser, it is possible to send invoices via email or share it as a URL. If you plan to venture in to online sales, you can set up a Square online store or integrate with several ecommerce tools like WooCommerce and Wix. Any integration comes at an extra cost depending on the other platform’s pricing.

Hardware and accessories

Square can be integrated with a range of shop-floor hardware, allowing the system to operate as a countertop POS system. It can also work as a pocket-sized point-of-sale from just the phone app and card reader, enabling you to take cards anywhere with a network connection. The question is: how elaborate do you need the POS system to be?

Square Point of Sale with stand and card reader

Square app on iPad in a Square Stand, with the card reader in accompanying charging dock. Photo: Square

At a stationary till point, it would be obvious to get the Square Stand, which holds an iPad while you use the Point of Sale app. It has an inbuilt swipe slot for magnetic stripe cards and a swivel mechanism so you can turn the screen to face the customer for PIN entry. You can also get a charging dock for the Square Reader, which not only keeps the card reader charged all day – it gives off a more professional look at the checkout.

Most equipment is only compatible with iPad (including Square Stand), which is also what most people like to use Square with. For a complete point of sale, an iPad would therefore be a crucial investment in most cases, particularly if you want to use a mobile receipt printer, since none of those work with Android. If you’re using a USB-connecting printer, cash drawer or barcode scanner, you will need Square Stand too because it has a USB socket which iPads don’t.

Star Micronics TSP143 receipt printer and cash drawer

Star Micronics TSP143III receipt printer with the Star Cash Drawer, which must be connected to the printer to open. Photo: Square

The compatible hardware includes cash drawers, receipt printers, heat-resistant kitchen printers and barcode scanners (see table below), and you can connect a keyboard via Bluetooth if using iPad. To open the cash drawer automatically, it must be connected to a compatible printer.

Note that the Square Point of Sale app only works with a tablet or mobile device. You cannot use a computer, whether Mac or PC, as your checkout screen, although the backend Dashboard functions can be accessed from any browser.

iOSAndroid
Stationary receipt printersStar Micronics
TSP143 (LAN)
TSP143III (Bluetooth, WiFi, LAN)
TSP654 (LAN)
TSP654II (Bluetooth, LAN)
Epson
TM-m10, TM-T20II (Bluetooth, LAN)
TM-U220 (LAN)
TM-T88V (Bluetooth)
iPad only:
Star Micronics
mPOP (w/ cash drawer)
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
Star Micronics
TSP113, TSP113GT (USB)
TSP143, TSP143II, TSP143III, TSP143GT (USB)
TSP651, TSP654II (USB)
Epson
TM-m10, TM-T20II, TM-T88V (USB)
Star Micronics
TSP113, TSP113GT (USB)
TSP143 (LAN, USB)
TSP143II (USB)
TSP143III (WiFi, LAN, USB)
TSP143IIIGT (USB)
TSP651 (USB)
TSP654II (LAN, USB)
Mobile receipt printersStar Micronics
SM-S210i, SM-S210i2 (Bluetooth)
SM-S220i, SM-S230i (Bluetooth)
SM-T300i (Bluetooth)
Kitchen printersStar Micronics
SP712ML, SP742ML (LAN)
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
Star Micronics
SP712MU, SP742MU (USB)
Star Micronics
SP712M, SP742M (LAN, USB)
Cash drawersiPad only:
Star Micronics
mPOP (w/ receipt printer)
All printer-driven models
Heckler Design, APG, other manufacturers
All printer-driven models
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
APG
Vasario VB554A-BL1416, VB/T554A-BL1616 (USB)
APG
Vasario VB554A-BL1416 (USB)
Vasario VB/T554A-BL1616 (USB)
All printer-driven models
Heckler Design, Star Micronics, other manufacturers
All printer-driven models
Barcode scannersiPad only:
Socket Mobile
7Ci (Bluetooth)
S700 (Bluetooth)
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
Honeywell
Voyager 1200G, 1250G (USB)
Xenon 1900 (USB)
Hyperion 1300G (USB)
Zebra (Symbol)
DS6707, LS2208 (USB)
Honeywell
Voyager 1200G, 1250G (USB)
Xenon 1900 (USB)
Hyperion 1300G (USB)
Zebra (Symbol)
DS6707, LS2208 (USB)
iOSAndroid
Stationary receipt printers
Star Micronics
TSP143 (LAN)
TSP143III (Bluetooth, WiFi, LAN)
TSP654 (LAN)
TSP654II (Bluetooth, LAN)
Epson
TM-m10, TM-T20II (Bluetooth, LAN)
TM-U220 (LAN)
TM-T88V (Bluetooth)
iPad only:
Star Micronics
mPOP (w/ cash drawer)
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
Star Micronics
TSP113, TSP113GT (USB)
TSP143, TSP143II, TSP143III, TSP143GT (USB)
TSP651, TSP654II (USB)
Epson
TM-m10, TM-T20II, TM-T88V (USB)
Star Micronics
TSP113, TSP113GT (USB)
TSP143 (LAN, USB)
TSP143II (USB)
TSP143III (WiFi, LAN, USB)
TSP143IIIGT (USB)
TSP651 (USB)
TSP654II (LAN, USB)
Mobile receipt printers
Star Micronics
SM-S210i, SM-S210i2 (Bluetooth)
SM-S220i, SM-S230i (Bluetooth)
SM-T300i (Bluetooth)
Kitchen printers
Star Micronics
SP712ML, SP742ML (LAN)
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
Star Micronics
SP712MU, SP742MU (USB)
Star Micronics
SP712M, SP742M (LAN, USB)
Cash drawers
iPad only:
Star Micronics
mPOP (w/ receipt printer)
All printer-driven models
Heckler Design, APG, other manufacturers
All printer-driven models
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
APG
Vasario VB554A-BL1416, VB/T554A-BL1616 (USB)
APG
Vasario VB554A-BL1416 (USB)
Vasario VB/T554A-BL1616 (USB)
All printer-driven models
Heckler Design, Star Micronics, other manufacturers
All printer-driven models
Barcode scanners
iPad only:
Socket Mobile
7Ci (Bluetooth)
S700 (Bluetooth)
Need both Square Stand & iPad:
Honeywell
Voyager 1200G, 1250G (USB)
Xenon 1900 (USB)
Hyperion 1300G (USB)
Zebra (Symbol)
DS6707, LS2208 (USB)
Honeywell
Voyager 1200G, 1250G (USB)
Xenon 1900 (USB)
Hyperion 1300G (USB)
Zebra (Symbol)
DS6707, LS2208 (USB)

What are the upgrade and integration options?

Growing businesses can switch to a more advanced POS system (Lavu, TouchBistro or Vend) and integrate with a long list of partner apps specialising in:

  • Accounting and tax (Commerce Sync, Enterpryze, SHOGO, Xero, Zoho Books)
  • Booking and scheduling (Acuity Scheduling, Appointedd, Bookeo, Booxi, Checkfront, GoDaddy Appointments, Occasion, Setmore Appointments, Wix Bookings)
  • Ecommerce (BigCommerce, Ecwid, GoDaddy Online Store, Handshake, OpenCart, Square for Magento, Weebly, Wix, WooCommerce, WP EasyCart, Zen Cart)
  • Employee management (Deputy)
  • Form building (123FormBuilder, Cognito Forms, JotForm, Wufoo)
  • Invoicing and services (InvoiceBerry, Táve, Zoho Invoice)
  • Items and inventory (DEAR Systems, MarketMan, Pointy, Shopventury, Stitch Labs)
  • Loyalty and rewards (TapMango)
  • Marketing and analytics (IFTTT, Mailchimp)
  • Ticketing and event management (Brushfire, SimpleTix)

It means that practically whatever your type of business, the free POS system can integrate with more complex tools for what you need.

Customer service and support

Square is set up to eliminate the need to contact customer support.

Square sales analytics on iPhone

The analytics are great for those not wanting to splash out on complex reporting.

Their user interface is developed to be as intuitive and simple as possible, so it doesn’t require formal training to start using the system.

In fact, the first time you use the individual functions, you get walk-through prompts to tell you about the page and what you can do, which really help you on your way.

The online help pages for the UK offering are comprehensive enough to cover maybe 90% of users’ questions. When the service launched in the UK a couple of years ago, the help pages were not as good.

Through the support section on the website, you can email or call Square between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. There is no customer support during weekends or nights, so if you run into an issue during those times, you will have to wait until their support team is next working. Normally, the system runs smoothly and is simple enough to figure out, so this should not be a problem for most people.

Suitable business types

Square Point of Sale is intended for any kind of business, meaning their features encompass a wide range of needs. We found that it is especially useful for food-and-drink businesses like restaurants, bars and cafés, given its features specific to this.

Any kind of hospitality and service industries would also find the system adaptable to their needs, be it a yoga studio, barber or bed and breakfast. Professionals with more complex services (e.g. consultants, therapists) can use the tailored invoicing and virtual terminal features to take payments remotely.

Because of its basic inventory functions, the system is also good for small retailers and independent shops who could benefit from keeping track of their products and bestsellers. The product library facilitates a quick checkout experience – anyone selling physical goods or clearly defined services would benefit from this.

Square Stand on counter

With Square Stand, your tablet is protected against theft. It can swivel around to face the customer for PIN entry.

Our verdict

We found that Square Point of Sale is a polished system that is fully sufficient for many small businesses. It simply has all the main features you need to run a shop, café, restaurant or any other kind of business that doesn’t need something highly specialised in addition to that. If you do eventually need more detailed tools, the available partner apps will likely meet those needs – prices of which will vary.

A thing to consider is whether you want to use Square Reader to process face-to-face payments, as this will be the only compatible card machine. The payment flow with this machine is super smooth for contactless, but needs a little getting used to with the on-screen PIN entry.

Overall, we think Square Point of Sale is great for small businesses who want to get started quickly without complicated pricing or a contract to commit to.

Name of Reviewed Item: Square Point of Sale GB Rating Value: 4 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/square-point-of-sale-app-stand-reader.jpg Review Author:Review Date: