How Much Does Square Charge?
Square (see our review) gets a lot of love from merchants because of its clear, affordable pricing. Square bills itself as charging 2.75% per transaction, regardless of card type. That’s true, but pricing Square is slightly more complicated than that given the wide range of services the company offers merchants. So how much does Square charge?
That honestly depends on what you plan to do with Square. Are you only processing transactions in person? Do you sell online? Do you use the virtual terminal or card-on-file features? Do you want any of the software add-ons? While the flat-rate pricing is easy to understand in theory, when you start mixing all the features together it gets a bit more confusing.
We’ll get into pricing here in a moment, but first, here are a few things to keep in mind about Square’s payment processing:
- Square charges the same rate for all types of cards, including American Express. While this means you pay a noteworthy markup over interchange for your typical MasterCard or Visa card, it also means you save money on American Express and many business/rewards cards.
- Square is a third-party payments processor. That means it aggregates everyone’s accounts into one giant merchant account. It’s super easy to sign up, but as a tradeoff, you face a slightly higher risk of an account hold or termination.
- Square deducts its fees from the total value of your transaction — including tax and tip. The fees are deducted before the funds ever hit your bank account (instead of deducting an entire month’s worth of fees at once).
- Square processes debit cards the same as credit cards. There is no PIN debit option in the US.
Table of Contents
- Square Fees By Transaction Type
- Additional Fees For Using Square
- Add-On Services
- Square for Retail: $60 per register per month
- Employee Management: $5 per employee per month
- Payroll: $25 per month plus $5 per employee/contractor per month
- Appointments (see our review): $30 per month for one person, $50 per month for 2-5 people, $90 per month for unlimited
- Loyalty: $25 per location per month
- Marketing: $15/month
- Final Thoughts
Square Fees By Transaction Type
Depending on where the transaction takes place/the type of transaction, you could pay one of three rates with Square:
- 2.5% + $0.10
- 2.9% + $0.30
- 3.5% + $0.15
I’m not going to go into heavy number crunching here. If you want to learn how to calculate your fees, I recommend checking out the cost comparison article I did, Is Square Really the Cheapest Processor for Your Business?
That will show you how to calculate your fees as well see how Square stacks up against an interchange-plus pricing plan.
For now, though, let’s look at what you’ll pay for Square’s services under a few different circumstances.
If you primarily sell in person, you’re going to pay 2.75% for the vast majority of your transactions. That’s fairly predictable compared to a tiered pricing plan or even an interchange-plus plan. You don’t need to worry about what kinds of cards you’re accepting because you pay the same for all of them. That includes:
- NFC: Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay
- Prepaid Gift Cards
The exception to this is merchants who use Square Register, the company’s fancy new countertop device. Swiped, tapped, or dipped transactions made with Register are processed at 2.5% + $0.10. However, it’s worth noting that unless your average ticket is above $40, this plan will actually cost you more. The smaller your average ticket, the more you’ll pay. For cafes and such, where the average ticket is maybe about $6, that means you could pay thousands more than if you just use Point of Sale without the Register hardware.
If you make a lot of online sales, you’re going to pay 2.9% + $0.30, which is pretty standard. It’s the same rate charged by PayPal, Stripe, and even Authorize.net. This includes all of the following online transactions:
- eCommerce Transactions
- eCommerce Card on File
The last pricing category is other Card Not Present (CNP) transactions, for which Square charges 3.5% + $0.15. Having the ability to keep the card on file and set up recurring invoicing can definitely be an asset for some kinds of business, especially in the B2B space. Others may not make full use of these.
- Keyed Transactions
- Card on File
- Virtual Terminal
Additional Fees For Using Square
How much does Square charge for all of its administrative services? Normally, this is where I’d go on about any additional fees. PCI compliance, chargebacks, etc. However, I’m just going to take a direct quote from Square’s Help Center to explain:
No hidden fees! There are no fees for:
Downloading the Square Point of Sale app
Seriously, that’s a pretty awesome deal for most merchants. Almost every other merchant will still charge you fees for a refund, at the very least. Most will charge you a fee for a chargeback, as well — on top of what’s deducted to cover the transaction.
Square even offers $250 per month in chargeback protection. This only applies to qualified transactions, however. But if you do encounter a chargeback and it does fall under the requirements, Square will cover the cost, meaning it won’t deduct /anything/ from your account.
There is one circumstance under which you might pay an extra fee, and it’s entirely optional. Square deposits most funds in your account within 48 hours. However, if you need your money sooner, you can opt for a scheduled deposit or instant deposit. It’ll cost you 1% of the transfer value, so if you transfer $250, you will pay $2.50, leaving you with $247.50.
In theory, you can get your money almost as soon as you make the request. However, actual processing times still depend on your bank. Square can initiate the transfer, but your bank may still take hours or a day to post. Having a bank that processes transfers quickly is definitely an advantage.
So we’ve now covered what you’d pay for your typical Square transaction as well as the supplemental fees (more specifically, the lack thereof). There’s one more category of potential costs to explore, and that’s software add-ons.
You get a lot with the basic Square Point of Sale app, but you can get even more with the software add-ons: anything from appointment booking to email marketing.
I encourage you to check out our Square review for a more detailed look at the Point of Sale app features. You can also check out our other Square articles:
- The Best eCommerce Integrations that Work with Square Payments
- Beyond Mobile: How Square Can Help You Sell Online
- Square Capital Review
- Square Cash Review
Square for Retail: $60 per register per month
Square’s search-focused, inventory-heavy POS app, Square for Retail, is designed with brick and mortar stores. It supports barcode printing and scanning, as well vendor management and purchase orders. You can receive inventory from within the app, no need to manually update the counts. However, there are some limitations: the app isn’t as robust as the free Point of Sale app, and the cost of goods reporting has left many merchants dissatisfied. However, Retail does include Employee Management at no additional cost.
Employee Management: $5 per employee per month
Employee management is Square’s time keeping add-on. It also supports user permissions so that you can restrict access to certain features as necessary. The permissions levels are customizable, too, so you’re not locked into specific roles and abilities. Employee management also includes a tip reconciliation feature. Employee management is included at no extra charge in Square for Retail.
Payroll: $25 per month plus $5 per employee/contractor per month
Payroll isn’t available in every state yet, but it is available in many of them. Check out the list here. For a $25 monthly base subscription plus $5 per employee per month, you’ll get time keeping, direct deposit, records of time off and sick days, payroll tax filing, workers comp and more. Square supports hourly wages, salaries, and flat payments, too. There’s also a contractors-only plan that simply costs $5 per month per contractor; no monthly subscription required.
It’s worth noting that while you do get timekeeping with Payroll, you don’t get the other Employee Management features. For that, you’ll have to subscribe to both services.
Appointments (see our review): $30 per month for one person, $50 per month for 2-5 people, $90 per month for unlimited
If you run a salon or other appointment-based business, Square’s appointing booking software includes a dedicated iOS app for scheduling and taking payments, plus a free website so customers can book appointments 24/7. You can request pre-payment, send reminders, and more. Employee management is also thrown in at no additional cost.
Loyalty: $25 per location per month
Square’s digital loyalty program lets you reward customers for repeat visits. The rewards scheme is customizable, so you can select the rewards and set the parameters to earn them. The whole system runs from within the Point of Sale app and you can sign people up at checkout.
Part of Square’s Point of Sale app is the customer database where you can collect customer information and make notes. That database also feeds into Square’s marketing service, so you can keep records of what customers buy and when. Use that information to target them with specific campaigns with a segmented database.
Unlike a tiered pricing plan or an interchange-plus plan, Square charges you the rate no matter what type of card you process. However, depending on what type of transaction, you’re going to pay either 2.75%, 2.5% + $0.10, 2.9% + $0.30, or 3.5% + $0.15. It’ll be up to you to figure what percentage of transactions fall into which category and do the math based on your own processing history.
Still, Square makes it a lot easier to figure out exactly what you’re paying. There are no hidden fees, and no mandatory fees at all (apart from processing rates). If you opt for instant deposit, you’ll pay 1% per each transaction. Other than that, the only other fees Square charges are for its monthly subscription services, which are entirely optional.
Don’t forget to check out our Square and Square for Retail reviews to see if Square is really a good fit for you. If you have more questions about Square, feel free to post them below! We’re always here to help.