The Ultimate Guide to Square Fees

square fees

Square has become almost synonymous with point of sale systems for small businesses. As Square has grown their product suite, there are a variety of ways businesses can work with this provider—from basic POS to appointments software to building an online store. Therefore, if you’re asking, “how much are Square fees?” the answer isn’t always simple.

Luckily, this guide is here to help.

Essentially, when it comes to Square fees, there are three factors to consider—

—and these factors will ultimately determine how much it costs you to work with Square for your business.

How Much Does Square Charge in Fees?

In the chart below, you can find a summary of Square fees. Although this chart doesn’t incorporate the cost of the physical hardware terminal, it illustrates how much it will cost to use Square on an ongoing basis considering both software and processing or transaction fees.

Square Fees, Summarized

Square Software Monthly Software Fee Card Present Transaction Fee Card Not Present Transaction Fee Invoices Fee Integrated Online Store Transaction Fee
Square POS
$0
2.6% + $0.10
3.5% + $0.15
2.9% + $0.30
(3.5% + $0.15 if using card on file)
2.9% + $0.30
Square for Restaurants
$0, $60, or $299 per month
2.6% + $0.10
3.5% + $0.15
2.9% + $0.30 (3.5% + $0.15 if using card on file)
2.9% + $0.30
Square for Retail
$0, $60, or $299 per month
2.5% + $0.10 (If processed through the square for retail app)
3.5% + $0.15
2.9% + $0.30 (3.5% + $0.15 if using card on file)
2.9% + $0.30
Square Appointments
$0 for individuals; $50 per month for 2-5 staff; $90 per month for 6-10 staff
2.6% + $0.10 for individuals; 2.5% + $0.10 for paid plans
3.5% + $0.15
2.9% + $0.30 (3.5% + $0.15 if using card on file)
2.9% + $0.30

With this overview in mind, let’s explain a little more about how Square charges fees.

As we mentioned above, Square charges three different types of fees—software fees, hardware fees, and credit card processing fees. The cost of Square, therefore, will depend largely on the software and hardware you choose, as well as the way you accept payments.

For example, if you use the basic free Square POS software app with the free magstripe reader you receive with your account, the only Square fees you’ll pay will be transaction fees.

In this case, (as shown in the chart above) if you accept a credit card using the magstripe reader, you’ll pay 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. On the other hand, if you manually key-in the payment, use the virtual terminal, or use “card on file,” you’ll pay 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction.

This being said, other than these types of fees, Square does not charge extraneous fees. Square doesn’t charge for:

  • Recording cash, check, or gift card payments
  • Activating your account or downloading the Square POS app
  • Chargebacks and dispute management
  • PCI-compliance
  • Account termination
  • Customer support
  • Fraud protection

Square also, as we briefly mentioned, includes a free magstripe credit card reader with your account. They don’t charge a monthly fee for credit card processing and your transaction fees are the same regardless of the credit card brand being used.

Square Software Fees

Square Software Monthly Fee Features
Square Point of Sale
$0 per month
Online and offline payment processing, inventory management, employee management, sales reporting, refunds, taxes, tipping, discounts, and more
Square for Restaurants
$0, $60, or $299 per month
Online and offline payment processing, inventory management, customer relationship management, employee management, menu management, floor plan management, sales reporting, refunds, taxes, tipping, discounts, and more
Square for Retail
$0, $60, or $299 per month
Multi-location inventory management, customer relationship management, in-app purchase orders, employee management, employee timecards and more
Square Appointments
$0 for individuals; $50 per month for 2-5 staff; $90 per month for 6-10 staff
Online booking, cloud-based calendar, customer and team management, integrated Square POS, and more

Now that we understand how Square charges fees (and how these fees can vary)—let’s break down these fees by the three different types—starting with software fees.

Square Point of Sale Software

For their default software—Square Point of Sale—Square charges no extra cost beyond the Square processing fees that you’ll pay for each card transaction processed through the Square POS system.

This is a great deal considering everything that the Square POS software can do: process all payment types, track inventory, provide employee management functions, and work offline.

Square for Restaurants Software

Square for Restaurants, as the name suggests, is designed specifically for restauranteurs. The Square for Restaurants software offers a Free plan with zero monthly charges. The Plus plan is $60 per month per location and the Premium plan starts at $299. The processing rates vary for each.

This software, however, includes industry-specific features—like the ability to manage your menus, floor plan, reconcile tips, arrange for takeout and delivery orders, and more.

Square for Retail Software

Similar to Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail offers advanced retail tools like the ability to complete purchase orders from your POS, manage customer profiles, set custom employee permissions, and more. Square for Retail offers a Free plan with zero monthly charges. The Plus plan is $60 per month per location and the Premium plan starts at $299. The processing rates vary for each.

Additionally, if you process transactions through the Square for Retail app, you’ll pay a lower in-person transaction fee—only 2.5% + $0.10 per swipe, dip, or tap—instead of the typical 2.6% + $0.10.

It’s important to note, however, that this lower rate only applies to the Square for Retail app. Even if you have a Square for Retail subscription, but you use the regular Square POS app to process your transactions, you’ll still pay the higher rate (2.6% + $0.10) associated with Square POS.

Square Appointments Software

Square Appointments is a different type of software from any of the POS software options we’ve reviewed thus far. Unlike Square POS, Square for Restaurants, and Square for Retail, Square Appointments (as per the name) is an appointment-booking software.

This software is designed to help service-based businesses schedule clients and customers and organize their schedules. This being said, instead of one monthly fee option, the cost of Square Appointments depends on how many employees you have:

  • Individual only: $0 per month
  • Two to five employees: $50 per month
  • Six to 10 employees: $90 per month

In addition, as is the case with Square for Retail, either of the paid versions of Square Appointments will come with the lower processing fee for in-person transactions: 2.5% + $0.10, instead of the standard 2.6% + $0.10.

Square Hardware Fees

Square Hardware Price Additional Costs
Magstripe Reader
First one free ($10 for each additional reader)
Smart device needed
Chip and Contactless Payment Reader
$49
Smart device needed
Square Stand
$199 or $18 per month for 12 months
iPad needed
Square Terminal
$299 or $27 per month for 12 months
None
Square Register
$799, or $39 per month for 24 months
None

Next, you’ll want to consider the different possibilities for Square hardware fees. Ultimately, the POS hardware that you need will vary based on your specific business and software.

As an example, if you’re only using the Invoices feature within Square POS and accepting payments online, you won’t need any hardware at all. On the other hand, if you’re running a full-service restaurant, you’ll likely want to opt for one of the more robust hardware packages, which will come at a higher cost.

As you can see from the table above, you’ll find variation in the cost of the Square hardware options. It’s important to note, however, whereas Square previously charged different processing fees based on the type of hardware you used, this is no longer the case.

Other than the exceptions we mentioned above (Square for Retail and Square Appointments) any swiped, dipped, or tapped payment, regardless of hardware, will incur the same transaction fees.

Magstripe Reader

When you sign up for Square, you will receive a free magstripe reader. This device can plug into the headphone jack or lightning connector of your mobile device and allow you to run magstripe credit card transactions in conjunction with the Square POS mobile app.

This hardware is also compatible with Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants, and Square Appointments. If you need additional magstripe readers, they’ll cost $10 each.

Chip and Contactless Payment Reader

The Square chip and contactless payment reader pairs with a smart device through Bluetooth to allow you to accept contactless payment methods such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, as well as chip card payments.

Square charges $49 for this reader, and it also works in conjunction with any of the Square software options we’ve discussed. 

Stand

Your next step up in hardware will be the Square Stand—a piece of hardware that convert iPads into powerful countertop POS systems. The Square Stand costs $199 if you purchase it outright, or $18 per month for 12 months with the payment plan.

With the Square Stand, you’ll be able to process all payment types (tap, dip, and swipe) and is one of the more affordable countertop POS systems on the market, especially if your business already has access to an iPad.

The Square Stand is compatible with all four software solutions.

Terminal

The Square Terminal is a handheld POS terminal that allows you to take all forms of payment and print receipts. Unlike the other hardware options we’ve discussed thus far, the Square Terminal functions on its own and doesn’t require a smart device.

Square Terminal costs $299 or $27 per month for 12 months with the payment plan. It’s important to note that Square Terminal is not compatible with Square for Retail or Square Appointments.

Register

Finally, the most powerful hardware option—with the highest pricing—is the Square Register. The Register includes a tablet and customer-facing display.

This hardware option is a fully integrated desktop POS that will process any type of payment and won’t require any smart device to do so. Square charges $799 for the Register, or $39 per month for 24 months with the payment plan. 

Currently, the Square Register is only compatible with the standard Square POS software.

Square Hardware Kits

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that Square sells a variety of hardware kits to give businesses an all-in-one POS hardware solution.

The kits range in price from $526 to $1,373 and include cash drawers, receipt printers, and wireless routers. Square also offers these accessories for purchase separately.

Square Processing Fees

Type of Transaction Square Processing Fee
In-person payment (tapped, dipped, or swiped)
2.6% + $0.10
In-person payment (tapped, dipped, or swiped) with Square for Retail or paid Square Appointments plan
2.5% + $0.10
Card-not-present payment (keyed-in, card on file, virtual terminal)
3.5% + $0.15
Online payments
2.9% + $0.30
Online invoice payments
2.9% + $0.30 (3.5% + $0.15 for card on file)

Square processing fees—also referred to as Square transaction or credit card fees—are the most complex part of the overall cost of Square.

In short, Square credit card processing fees largely depend on how you accept the card—whether it’s in person, manually entered, or online.

As you can see in the chart below, regardless of the hardware you use, if you accept a swiped, tapped, or dipped credit card, your Square processing fee will be 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction.

This being said, however, if you accept any of those types of payments with the Square for Retail app, or with either of the paid Square Appointments plans, you’ll see a slightly lower rate, 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction.

Additionally, for any card-not-present payment you accept—again, regardless of the software or the hardware—you’ll pay 3.5% + $0.15 in Square credit card fees. In this case, card-not-present refers to any card payment that you key into your POS system, any card on file that you process, or any time you use the Square virtual terminal to accept payment.

Then, for any online payments, Square will charge 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. This fee applies to any online invoice payments, as well as any payments made through the Square Online Store or using the Square e-commerce API.

It’s important to note that for ecommerce card on file payments, the rate will not change—however, for invoice card on file payments, Square will charge a 3.5% + $0.15 processing fee.

All of this being said, however, other than these transaction fees, Square doesn’t charge other fees for accepting payments. As we mentioned above, Square doesn’t charge you to record cash, check or gift card payments.

They also charge the same fees regardless of the brand of the credit card and don’t have fees for account maintenance, setup, or account termination.

Most notably, Square does not have fees for chargebacks (which most companies do) and they offer PCI-compliance, dispute management, fraud protection, reporting tools, and customer support at no additional cost.

Square Fees for Additional Products

Generally, your Square fees will only depend on the three factors we’ve discussed—software, hardware, and credit card processing. This being said, however, Square does offer a range of add-on products that you can purchase at additional costs if you so choose:

  • Square Online Store: This ecommerce platform is available in different plan levels, the first of which only requires that you pay processing fees (2.9% + $0.30). Paid plans for Square Online Store start at $12 per month, billed annually.
  • Square Marketing: You can add this tool to your Square POS account to manage your marketing campaigns—pricing starts at $15 per month.
  • Square Loyalty: You can create a loyalty program with this add-on—pricing starts at $45 per month per location.
  • Square Team Management: These features are free for all locations, however, Square offers a Team Management Plus option for $35 per month per location.
  • Square Payroll: If you want to process your payroll through Square, you can use Square Payroll—which costs $29 per month, plus $5 per person per month.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, although it can be difficult to understand Square fees at first, once you break them down by software, hardware, and credit card processing, they become much easier to sort through.

In fact, compared to some other POS providers and payment processors, Square offers some of the most straight-forward and transparent fees on the market.

This being said, the ultimate cost of Square, as we’ve mentioned, will depend on your individual business. If you’re looking for the cheapest Square fees possible, you can use the Square mobile POS app on your smart device and process payments through the free magstripe card reader you receive with your account. In this case, you’ll only pay the 2.6% + $0.10 processing fee per transaction.

If your business needs more to operate effectively, you can explore the other software and hardware options Square offers and compare their respective costs to find what works best for your small business.

Randa Kriss

Randa Kriss is a senior staff writer at Fundera.

At Fundera, Randa specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions. 

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