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Square Register Review

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Square Register Review

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Date Established
2009
Location
San Francisco, CA

Pros

  • Set up in minutes
  • Cost-effective
  • Feature-rich
  • Access to App Marketplace

Cons

  • Fund holds still an issue
  • Live customer service not 24/7

Overview

Square has been one of the most popular credit card processors and point of sale systems for small and mid-sized retailers almost from the moment it came on the scene in 2009. The company’s namesake card readers are ubiquitous at farmer’s markets, cafes, trendy clothing stores, and even gas stations. Square’s appeal is pretty simple. It’s affordable with an easy-to-understand pricing structure, and its point of sale is intuitive and loaded with features that are difficult to find at that price point. While Square is already doing quite well in the market, its newest addition, Square Register, looks to turn the company into the Amazon.com of point of sale systems — at least as far as convenience is concerned.

Square Register is a fully integrated point of sale system that you can pull out of the box and have up and running in a matter of minutes. Register comes with a slick, large touchscreen that is easy for employees to navigate. It also features a customer-facing screen which gives said customers the ability to see what they’re purchasing, view the total cost, and either scan or insert their cards.

It’s obvious that Square is pushing to make Register its go to POS product now — Register has lower processing fees compared to Square’s iPad POS and Square for Retail while maintaining a robust feature set. Square Register is frankly impressive and will appeal to vendors who want a simple, all-in-one solution. With the ability to easily plug in additional compatible hardware, an improved interface, and one of the best processing systems on the market, Square Register is positioned to make an immediate impact.

Pricing

Square’s simple pricing structure has always been one of its more appealing selling points. Square Register costs $49/month for 24 months, or you can simply purchase the system outright for $999. Processing is also easy to calculate: 2.5% plus $0.10 per tap, dip or swipe.

Square says it can work with vendors to create a custom rate for high-volume businesses that do more than $250K in annual credit cards sales and have an average ticket size over $15.

Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed

Square is cloud-based. All of your information is stored on the cloud and can be transferred to your device once you sign in with your account. That information can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection if you also have the Square app.

Specific Industry

With its wealth of features, there aren’t many businesses that would find Square Register lacking. Nearly any type of retail store (boutique, clothing shop, etc…) could easily be serviced as well as most quick-service food businesses and smaller restaurant establishments.

Specific Size Of Business

While Square has long been a convenient option geared to small business owners, the company’s recent updates make it a more and more viable solution for larger ventures. Square Register is a perfect fit for most sizes of retail operations, making it easy to manage large amounts of inventory and keep tabs on multiple locations. It would also work for small to mid-sized food service businesses and restaurants.

Ease Of Use

Convenience has always been the name of the game for Square and yet, somehow, Square Regsiter has been able to simplify things even further. If you begrudge the energy it takes to change light bulbs and finds cooking plain pasta to be just above your skill set, this is the product for you. Once you log in with your Square account, you are walked through a quick and simple tutorial. Then you’re in.

You can import your inventory via a CSV file and, thanks to a recent update, you can now add pictures of your items, making it easier for employees or customers to search through your products. Square Register’s layout is easy to navigate and the larger screen is helpful when you’re navigating through various pages.

Normally when I’m testing out a product, I spend the bulk of my time acting in the role of an employee, navigating the front and back end of a system. But with Square Register, I found myself approaching the trial as a customer. It makes sense, since much of the product’s goal is to give control to customers. The customer-facing screen, which can be anchored to the device or tethered for added mobility, allows customers to see the exact totals of their purchases and do their own card swiping/scanning/inserting. This really cuts down on potential errors and can move lines along more efficiently.

Hardware & Operating System Requirements

This is the beauty of Square Register. The hardware comes with the package, so you literally can be up and running in minutes with nothing but an internet connection, especially if you already have a Square account set up. Included with Register is a simple device with 5 USB ports to connect any additional items you might need (like a scanner, cash drawer, or receipt printer) and Square sells compatible products on its website.

Features

With Square Register, you get access to a full range of point of sale features. I’ll highlight a few of the basics along with some of its standout offerings:

  • Inventory Management 
    • Bulk importing allows you to download thousands of products quickly via a CSV file
    • Daily stock alerts let you know when products run low
    • Export stock levels instantly to a spreadsheet.
    • Transfer inventory across multiple stores.
    • Integrations with Shopventory and Stitch Labs provide additional tools.
  • Employee Management
    • Employees can be given different permissions and access to certain functions.
    • Employees can clock in and out at the register and hours can be easily edited if necessary.
    • Analytics makes it easy to see which employees are your top sellers.
    • Labor vs. Sales reports makes it easy to evaluate labor costs.
  • Loyalty (This option is free for 0-10 loyalty visits a month, $25 a month for 11-50 loyalty visits per month, and $35 a month for 51-100 loyalty visits. Square can also set up a custom rate for over 100 loyalty visits per month.)
    • Import large customer lists via a CSV file.
    • Customers can earn loyalty rewards and discounts automatically and that information is stored on their profile within the system.
    • Customers can also sign up to receive text messages informing them of when they’ve earned a reward.
    • Easily customize spending and visit levels for rewards.
    • Search customers and see what products are most likely to bring them back into your store.
    • You can also quickly edit customer information manually and add personalized notes.
    • Purchase histories and a simple analysis of their spending habits is easy to look up.
  • Gift Cards
    • Gift cards are included with the Square app. Create digital gift cards for free or order physical cards with unique designs for an additional cost.
    • Balances can easily be viewed in Square Dashboard
    • Customer balances and other information is simple to store and search.
  • eCommerce
    • Square pairs with numerous companies so you can pick and choose how you want to set up your online business. If you don’t have much web building experience you can go through a company like Wix or Weebly or, if you’re far savvier, Square’s open API can let you customize and develop your online store from scratch.
  • Reporting
    • View reports on any device in real time.
    • Reports analyze what customers are new to your business and what customers are repeat visitors along with what they are purchasing.
    • Customize sales breakdowns by days, weeks, and months to spot trends.
  • Appointments
    • For businesses like spas and salons, Square lets customers book online 24/7.
    • Scheduling syncs with your own calendar to ensure accuracy.
    • Customer history can be easily viewed and automatic scheduling reminders can be set up.
  • Restaurant Features
    • Square sets up automatic tipping reminders which can help out servers.
    • Customers can order takeout online.
    • Tickets can be set up to automatically print to the kitchen, saving valuable time.

Customer Service & Support

Square offers live support from 6 AM to 6 PM (with a customer code). This can be an issue if you’re needing immediate assistance outside of those hours. Fortunately, there is email support available and Square does have an impressive customer support page where you can troubleshoot some basic questions; there are dozens of articles on various topics if you have time to do some research. Square also has one of the best community forums I’ve seen where you can look up various topics.

Once you do get in touch with a live person, Square’s support is friendly and very knowledgeable. They are happy to walk you through any issue that you’re having and are committed to making sure that your problems are completely resolved. Square keeps up a current blog and is fairly active on its social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Its YouTube channel also has some valuable information, plus walk-throughs and tutorials.

Compatible Credit Card Processors

This is really Square’s bread and butter. Through Square’s own processing software, Register can accept all major forms of payment, including Apple and Android Pay and all major credit cards. With Square Register, customers can easily tap, dab, or swipe their cards or phones and are walked through the signing and (if you’re in the food service industry) tipping processes.

Integrations & Add-Ons

As is probably obvious, with your Square account you have access to the Square App Marketplace. There are dozens of apps to choose from, ranging from eCommerce software to inventory management to accounting. The Marketplace is routinely adding new apps. What’s more, Square has an open API for developers so tech-savvy business owners can create custom apps tailor-made for their needs.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

As you might expect, with a product as new as Square Register, there aren’t a ton of reviews or complaints to sift through yet.

  • Bugs: A few people who received early versions of the product talked about bugs in the software but were also quick to point out that some of Square’s automatic updates had already solved the issues.
  • Fund Holds: A large number of complaints to the Better Business Bureau revolve around Square placing immediate holds on funds when it deems a suspicious transaction has occurred. These holds can come without notice and can take a while to resolve, causing understandable frustration for vendors
  • Limited Customer Service: Square Register only offers live customer support from 6 AM to 6 PM, Pacific Time, which can mean that important issues that crop up outside of this window are difficult to resolve.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

  • Modern Design: The fortunate few who have been able to get their hands on Square Register have been very impressed with its interface. Reviewers comment on its sleek look and its easy-to-read display for both employees and customers.
  • Feature Rich: Square has never been lacking in its breadth of features. Retailers enjoy its inventory and reporting functions along with its simple employee management offerings.
  • Low Cost & Simple Pricing: Business owners appreciate how much you get from an affordable package and a few commented on how easy it is to predict your costs.
  • Integrations: Customers like having access to the impressive App Marketplace and appreciated that add-ons were at a minimum.

There are also a few testimonials on the company’s website.

Square continues to make improvements and add features I didn’t even know I needed until I used them.

Square opens up a lot of doors and opportunities for small makers with lots of potential with simple fees and easy-to-use products.

Final Verdict

Square Register has been highly anticipated for a while now and I’m happy to say that it lives up to some pretty lofty expectations. It’s tough to not be impressed by a system with so many features that can be set up in its entirety practically on a coffee break. The interface is ridiculously easy to maneuver and the ability for customers to interact easily with the POS is a huge and unique benefit.

While Square’s appeal has always been to people like me, who value simplicity and ease of use, the company’s open API and an ever-expanding App Marketplace make it worth a look to more adventurous business owners who might want to customize their own apps. Square is constantly updating and appears to have resolved some of the complaints that customers had in the past. There are no early termination fees and the costs for add-on features are pretty clearly laid out.

Square continues to be on the cutting edge of the processing and point of sale game and the addition of Register to its arsenal makes it an even more formidable player. 5 out of 5 stars.

Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman

Point of sale writer at Merchant Maverick
Matt Sherman has been immersed in point of sale systems for over a year now. Previously, he spent 14 years in the newspaper industry, the majority of which was as the sports editor for a pair of weekly newspapers in suburban Portland, Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon where he majored in English because he knows where the money is. Matt is the father to a pair of energetic boys and can easily be distracted by Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go.
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10 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Mark Trujillo

    Organization Name: Hub Coffee

    the new square register seems like a perfect match for our business if I can achieve the following:
    1-still update products from my personal laptop?
    2-still able to look at daily sales from my personal laptop?
    3- If I update all 4 locations can i look at all locations like I currently do on the square app?

    thanks for your help
    Mark

    • Organization Name: Hub Coffee
    Jessica Dinsmore

    Hi Mark,

    All of the reporting tools and features are the same with Square Register, so anything you can do in the Square Dashboard, you will still be able to do
    on a laptop after you upgrade to Square Register. You can search “Square Point of Sale Features by Mobile Device” in the squareup help forum for a breakdown of which Square POS features do and don’t work on Square Register.

      Christy Ouei

      Organization Name: Mule Kick

      Matt – this has been a very long but very informative stay on your reviews. I’m in the market for a new POS and the task has been daunting. I’ve taken Toast and Revel’s customer support for a “test drive”. Toast has come through unscathed, but Revel’s shorted wait was 7 minutes. While with Toast I had an immediate answer. The Square Register is looking like a viable option at this point as I will be a combination retail location and restaurant. So many POS are either one or the other – never both. Any other thoughts on the Square Register vs some of the others would be great!! Toast and Revel have been the only 2 I’ve dealt with at length.

      • Organization Name: Mule Kick
      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Christy,

      I like all 3 options, but I’ll try and give you some of the key differences without knowing more about the specifics of your business. If customer service is very important to you, Toast is head and shoulders above most options. However, Toast is pretty restaurant specific. It can handle some light retail but, if that side of your business is relatively advanced, you might find it lacking in some areas. Revel has the most advanced feature set of the 3 you’ve mentioned, but it’s a little more expensive. I really like Square Register and it can handle both the retail and restaurant side of most small businesses unless you’re needing some pretty advanced inventory management. Obviously the upfront cost of Register is something to consider, especially if you already have some existing hardware that you’d prefer to use, but it’s ultra modern and extremely convenient. I sure hope that helps!

        Deborah Williams

        The pictures all show Register without a power cord. Is it rechargeable? If so, how long does it run on a charge?

          Jessica Dinsmore

          Hi Deborah,

          I pulled this explanation from the squareup website:

          “Square Register needs to be plugged into a power outlet during use while Square Stand for Contactless and Chip can pull a limited amount of power from the iPad in the stand so it does not always have to be plugged in, the Reader Contactless and Chip does need to be charged but can run off of battery power.”

            Cesar Barajas

            Organization Name: Tacomen

            Does this mean that cash transactions will also be charged 10 cents per transaction?

            5
            • Organization Name: Tacomen
            Matt Sherman

            Hi Cesar. Cash transactions are free with Square.

              Russ Kendall

              Organization Name: Gusto Wood Fired Pizza

              Matt:

              I’m also a long-term journalist who walked away to start my Plan B, a mobile wood fired pizza business. I make pizzas at farmers markets and festivals and am interested in upgrading to Square Register (right now I just plug a reader into my iPhone to take credit card payments at the farmers market), but can’t tell if Square Register requires an ethernet-type connection to the internet, or, if I can use a hotspot to access the internet, just like I do with my iPhone? Thanks for any help!

              Russ

              • Organization Name: Gusto Wood Fired Pizza
              Matt Sherman

              Hi Russ! Thanks for the inquiry. Square Register functions with either an ethernet connection or with a WiFi connection so you should be good either way.

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