Our rating(4.5/5)
Square Terminal is a stylish payment terminal that works without a connected till.
With the touchscreen card machine Square Terminal, you don’t need a connected tablet or computer – just the terminal is fine to manage your till point. Added bonus? Square’s simple pricing and no lock-in.
  • Highs: No monthly fees or commitment. Receipt printer. Purchase in instalments. Very user-friendly and compact. 24/7 support.
  • Lows: Terminal software not expandable. Doesn’t work with 3G/4G. Hub for cash drawer costs extra.
  • Buy if: You want to save money and counter space by using one compact terminal as your main POS system.


Best Square Terminal offer

Square Terminal UK offer
Link to offer

Buy Square Terminal for £149 + VAT or pay interest-free instalments for 3, 6 or 12 months. No ongoing fees or lock-in. Free delivery in 2-3 working days.

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How Square Terminal works

Square Terminal works as a standalone payment and POS terminal with software and receipt printer built in. It accepts chip and contactless cards (with a slot for foreign swipe cards), or you can key in card details manually for phone payments.

Accepted cards

VisaVisa ElectronV PayMastercardMaestroAmerican ExpressContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

Contrary to traditional card machines, Square Terminal is more than just for card payments. You can, for example, accept gift cards and edit your product library on the terminal.

From start to completion of each transaction, you use the touchscreen to navigate POS functions in the Square Point of Sale software built in. Customers enter their PIN on the touchscreen too. The terminal cannot change to the Square for Restaurants, Retail or Appointments interface, but may work in sync with those POS apps.

All transactions and activities on the terminal are connected to your backend Square account where more complimentary features, ecommerce tools and integrations are available.

The terminal needs to be connected to the internet via WiFi. Optionally, you can purchase a Hub for Square Terminal that allows you to connect via Ethernet cable. It does not work with 4G or other network connections the way your phone does.

Want a cheaper card machine? Learn more about Square Reader

Costs and payouts

A major upside to Square is their simple costs. You just pay for the terminal, then a fixed transaction rate for any debit and credit cards processed. There is no minimum sales volume required, no payout fees and no contract lock-in. Unless you have opted to pay for the terminal over a number of months, there are no fixed monthly costs.

The Square card machine costs £149 + VAT upfront. You can also choose to pay in instalments of 3, 6 or 12 interest-free monthly payments (subject to credit check and approval). If you choose to pay over 6 months, you pay a monthly instalment of £25 – an attractive option for many startups. The repayments are handled internally by Square, not by a third party provider, and the first payment is taken when you place the order.

Charges
Square Terminal – upfront price £149 + VAT
Square Terminal – instalments £25 x 6 months
Hub for Square Terminal (optional) £29 + VAT
Shipping Free
Chip & contactless card rate 1.75%
Key-in card rate 2.5%
Ecommerce transaction fees European cards: 1.9%
Non-European cards: 2.9%
Settlement in bank account Free
Instant Transfers (optional) 1% added to card rate
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Free

If you’re connecting the terminal to other hardware, you’ll need the Hub for Square Terminal costing £29 + VAT.

In Square’s store, you can buy the following compatible accessories:

  • Countertop mount: £15 + VAT
  • Belt clip: £45 + VAT
  • Barcode scanner: £74.99 + VAT

Transactions cost a fixed rate, 1.75%, for all chip, contactless and swipe card payments through the terminal regardless of card brand, country of issue or whether it is premium. All key-in payments through the terminal, Square Invoices or Virtual Terminal cost 2.5% per transaction. Ecommerce transactions via the online store or payment links cost 1.9% for European cards and 2.9% for any other cards.

Refunds are free to process and chargebacks incur no admin fees. You even get free payment dispute support from the Square team, in case a chargeback should incur.

Transactions are automatically cleared – for free – in your bank account within 1-2 working days. If you want the money faster, you can activate Instant Transfers in your account and a 1% transaction fee will be added to the card rate – you then receive the money in your bank account nearly instantly (within a couple of hours). For example, for chip and PIN cards, you pay 2.75% per transaction with Instant Transfers.

Photo: Emily Sorensen (ES), Mobile Transaction

PIN on glass – i.e. on the touchscreen of an industry-approved terminal like Square Terminal – has been deemed highly secure.

Terminal specs and features

Apart from looking pretty, what should you know about the payment terminal?

Physically, it’s a bit heavier than a traditional Ingenico card machine (417 g versus circa 300 g). This is due to the large screen, compared to the small screen of a mainstream terminal with a PIN pad. Underneath are two rubber strips to keep it stable on a desk, and a hole if you need to screw the terminal to a surface.

Square Terminal’s battery can last all day without a charge, which is impressive given the large, energy-consuming touchscreen. However, we found that leaving it on standby drains the battery completely by the next day.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Underneath the terminal.

Therefore, we recommend switching it off completely when you don’t plan on using it to avoid having to recharge it first the next time you need it.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Square Terminal left side

The power cable socket and power/standby button are on the left side of the terminal.

Because it runs on a local, secured WiFi connection, it can be used across your premises, for example for payments at the customer’s table. The Ethernet connection through the Hub could be necessary if your WiFi is unreliable, but then you have to keep the Terminal connected at the till point.

Tech specs
Dimensions 142.2 (L) x 86.4 (W) x 63.5 (H) mm
Screen size 139.7 mm (5.5″)
Weight 417 g
Data WiFi (secured network only), Ethernet via Hub (extra cost)
Card technology EMV (chip), NFC (contactless), swipe
Battery life All day from full charge
Built-in receipt printer Uses 57 mm (width) x 35 mm (diameter) thermal receipt paper
Accessories included Square Terminal, power adaptor, receipt paper roll, ‘accepted cards’ decals

The software is basically the Square Point of Sale app (downloadable on a mobile device as well). Its checkout screen has two options for adding to the shopping cart: enter price amounts manually or tap to add products from the library. With ‘Open Tickets’ switched on, you can create orders straight from the checkout screen and save them for quick access from the checkout screen.

Square Terminal enter amount screen

Enter an amount to add to the bill.

Product menu as the checkout screen.

The checkout flow and products can be edited on the terminal – no need to log in on a computer to do it. Add product variants like size and colour and enable the Eat-in, Takeaway, Delivery or Pickup options if you’re a café, all of which can be selected during the checkout flow.

What about transaction options? You can accept cash, payment cards and mobile wallets, a card on file (saved in the customer library), gift cards (issued from the terminal too), invoicing and manually-entered card details. Split the tender, add either custom or preset tipping amounts, and once the transaction is complete, choose either to print, email or text the receipt.

Payment methods. Pop-up explains cash option.

Receipt options after a transaction.

The customer library enables you to add a person to the invoice rather than entering recipient details manually. You can create and send Square Invoices directly on the terminal, accessed from the side menu. Over-the-phone payments are also possible – just add products or enter an amount on the regular checkout screen and choose manual card payment as the payment method.

If you use the browser-based Virtual Terminal, transactions can be sent from your computer to Square Terminal for a chip or contactless payment.

Transactions, sales history and reports can be viewed on the terminal. In fact, you go to Transactions to process a refund (itemised or custom amount) or resend a receipt via email or text. Receipts can be customised in Settings, and food places can set the terminal to print order tickets.

Transactions overview.

Sales summary.

We noticed one feature that Square Terminal could not access, but is available in the mobile app: payment links and QR code payments. This means you cannot send links or generate QR codes for payments on Square Terminal. We found this a little odd considering the popularity of such payments.

The software is updated automatically daily when the Terminal is connected to the internet. Just be prepared to wait for the update to process when you switch on the terminal every day (it took minutes on most days we tested it). For increased security, set the terminal to require password login every time it’s used. You can reset the password on the terminal if needed.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Square Terminal paper receipts

Square’s built-in receipt printer produces itemised and customised receipts, as opposed to traditional card machines that only display transaction totals.

Square Terminal vs. Square Reader

Given how cheap the Square card reader is, you may be wondering why there’s a big price difference. Put simply, Square Terminal is a premium, self-sufficient card machine from Square, while Square Reader has no screen, no PIN pad, no receipt printer and no app features on the card reader itself. The Reader is fully dependent on the Square POS app on a connected smartphone, iPad or Android tablet.

Square Terminal Square Reader
Square Terminal front Square Reader
Price £149 + VAT £16 + VAT
Size 142.2 (L) x 86.4 (W) x 63.5 (H) mm 66 (L) x 66 (W) x 10 (H) mm
Weight 417 g 56 g
Connections WiFi, Ethernet via Hub (extra cost) Bluetooth to mobile device with network connection
Works without phone/tablet
Built-in receipt printer
Square
Terminal
Square
Reader
Square Terminal front Square Reader
£149 + VAT £16 + VAT
Size
142.2 (L) x 86.4 (W) x 63.5 (H) mm 66 (L) x 66 (W) x 10 (H) mm
Weight
417 g 56 g
Connections
WiFi, Ethernet via Hub (extra cost) Bluetooth to mobile device with network connection
Works without phone/tablet
Built-in receipt printer

Another major difference is connectivity. Square Reader uses Bluetooth to connect to a mobile device running the POS app, and it is the mobile device that connects to the internet through its SIM card (using 3G or 4G) or WiFi. Square Terminal directly connects to the internet without the need for a phone or tablet, but then it cannot use a 3G/4G network, deeming it useless in places with no secured WiFi or fixed Ethernet setup with Square Hub.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Square Terminal prints detailed receipts and has swipe card functionality, unlike Square Reader. The software is largely the same as Square POS app, such as the pictured product menu.

On a practical level, Square Reader is tiny compared to the Terminal, so it’s very convenient on the go. Of course, this requires using both the card reader and phone or tablet, and some customers may be hesitant entering their PIN on your mobile screen.

Square Terminal’s PIN entry is more practical since it happens on the terminal directly, although you do have to create the transaction first before handing the terminal to the customer.

Hardware integration

If you wonder “how does this work with the rest of the POS system”, we should emphasise the terminal is the POS system. That said, you can still connect it to up to three hardware pieces through the optional Hub for Square Terminal (purchased separately for £29 + VAT). The Hub connects to the terminal via cable, has three USB ports for POS hardware and one Ethernet socket for internet.

Photo: Square

Square Terminal Hub has three USB ports for optional POS accessories.

Compatible till equipment is plugged into the Hub’s USB ports (so no Bluetooth accepted) and includes:

  • Receipt printers
  • Kitchen ticket printers
  • Kitchen display
  • Cash drawers
  • Barcode scanners

You cannot connect the terminal to a tablet or computer, since the terminal contains all the POS features it can use, and transactions happen directly in the cloud. However, it is perfectly possible to run the full-fledged Square Point of Sale system on a tablet at the till simultaneously to the independent Terminal connected to the same Square account.

Reporting

On the Terminal, you can view sales history, generate custom reports, track cash drawer activity and sales by team member.

All Square users have backend (in any internet browser) access to sales reports sorted by date, location, time period and more. Generated reports can be exported to Excel. There are lots of other free analytics on gift cards, popular sales categories, sales trends, transaction status, discounts, employee sales, etc. Custom reports can also be created.

If these are not enough, you can integrate your Square sales with more advanced accounting and reporting tools including Commerce Sync, Enterpryze, KashFlow, Shogo, Xero and Zoho Books.

Who is Square best for?

If you’re a small shop, café, hairdresser or any other type of merchant who doesn’t require massively complicated POS features at checkout, Square Terminal will save you counter space and money because you don’t need to buy a receipt printer, tablet or touchscreen monitor. And if you’re cashless, the terminal would be all you need.

If your sales are primarily online, but you also have a brick-and-mortar store, the simple Square Terminal checkout could be what you need to connect those sales without superfluous equipment to fill your face-to-face shop.

Photo: Square

Square Terminal is ideal for businesses wanting to connect an online store with in-store sales.

It works best in locations with a fixed WiFi connection or till point with an Ethernet cable. We would not recommend it for use on the go where WiFi networks can’t be depended on, because there’s no 3G or 4G backup.

Of course, if you’re already using Square Reader, there’s no faff changing over to Square Terminal. It is only if you require more custom features that we recommend looking for a card machine that connects with advanced POS software.

Customer service and user reviews

Square provides 24/7 support over the phone exclusively for Square Terminal users. This is more than what’s available with Square Reader that only entitles you to weekday support during work hours. There’s a very helpful Support Centre on the website, which answers most questions.

Furthermore, you get a year’s warranty on the terminal and a 30-day cooling-off period during which you can get a full refund if you don’t like the product.

Customer reviews in the UK are generally very good, implying the service works smoothly. Occasionally, users complain about sudden account closures and funds being held by Square, which is a security mechanism designed to weed out high-risk transactions or business sectors that Square considers high-risk.

How to get started

Getting started with Square could hardly be any easier. The pricing is already set and the same for everyone, in contrast to many payment companies that require a call to get your business details before giving a quote.

Square just requires you to complete a short sign-up form with basic business and personal information. They will assess the information and check the validity of your bank account, but you are able to start selling straight after sign-up through the complimentary online invoicing tool, payment links and virtual terminal.

The pricing is already set since it is the same for everyone, in contrast to many payment companies that like to get on a call to get business information before giving you a quote.

It takes 2-3 days for your terminal to arrive after placing the order. The card machine is so intuitive that you don’t need a manual to set it up – just make sure your WiFi is working so it can connect to that.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Square Terminal box contents

Square Terminal comes in a sturdy, white box (looks like an Apple product) containing the terminal, power cable, decals and ‘get started’ booklet.

Your bank account can take around 4 days before it is properly set up to receive payouts. Any transactions accepted by then will just be held by Square until they can clear in your bank account.

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a compact, affordable point of sale without lock-in or complicated fees, Square Terminal is definitely a strong contender. The sleek payment terminal fits nicely in a small shop that hasn’t got very complicated software needs for a checkout.

That said, there are plenty of add-on features such as creating an online store, invoicing, phone payments and connecting with a wide range of business tools. Some of these have different charges, but using the Terminal only costs the transaction fee.

Bottom line: Square Terminal is very good value for a small shop that doesn’t want monthly fees or commitment.