Everything You Need To Know About Setting Up Your Free Square Account
Square offers several time-saving benefits for small business owners, including no credit checks, a free magstripe reader to get you started, and a free Square POS app.
Thinking about using Square to process payments for your business? Square offers several time-saving benefits for small business owners looking to start processing payments, including no credit checks, a free magstripe reader to get you started, and a free Square POS app that enables you to start taking credit card payments right away. Not only that, but the Square Dashboard also offers analytics reporting, inventory management, alerts, and (with optional add-on software) even the ability to plan email marketing campaigns!
With all of these conveniences and freebies, you can expect slightly higher transaction fees than you’d get with a traditional merchant account. However, as a third-party processor, Square offers a very transparent pricing plan that starts at 2.6% plus $0.10 per swipe dip or tap and 3.5% + $0.15 for keyed-in transactions. You won’t be surprised by hidden fees or contracts, and you can enjoy the same processing rate for all major credit cards. Square also offers payment dispute assistance, chargeback protection, and secure, PCI-compliant software — all included.
If your interest is piqued, but you need a little more information before getting started with Square, then you’ve landed on the right post! Below, we’ll take you step-by-step through the process of signing up for a new Square account. As you will see, setting up your Square account is relatively straightforward. And the best part? It’s completely free and requires no commitment on your part whatsoever.
Table of Contents
- What Do You Need To Get Started With Square?
- How To Create A Free Square Account
- How To Set Up Your Square Account & Dashboard
- How To Set Up Square Deposits & Funding
- Explore More Square Software Options
- Choose Hardware Options For Your Square Account
- Where To Go Next With Square?
- Learn To Make The Most Of Your Free Square Account
- Common Questions About Square Signups & Square Account Setup
What Do You Need To Get Started With Square?
Before we get started, here is the main information you’ll need to set up your Square account:
- Email address
- Social Security Number
- Home address
- Shipping address
- Full legal name
- Phone number
- A US-based bank account for deposits
- Date of birth
Recommended but not required are:
- An Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Business bank account
We are going to get pretty detailed in this tutorial, but rest assured, the application itself takes less than ten minutes. Follow along with the guide below to discover how to set up and make the most of your new Square account!
How To Create A Free Square Account
Here are the basic steps to signing up for your free Square account.
How To Set Up Your Square Account & Dashboard
Right away, you can see that the Dashboard has a clean layout and is pretty straightforward. In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll find an icon that looks like a clipboard. Click on it, and you’ll access Square’s built-in Setup Guide. You can also select “Tour Your Dashboard” from under your account name in the upper right-hand corner.
How To Set Up Square Deposits & Funding
The signup process gives you the opportunity to set up your Square deposits, but in case you skipped it, you can complete the process at any time. Setting up deposits will allow Square to pay out your share of sales revenue. You can enter bank accounts under Account & Settings –> Bank Accounts. If you’ve ever set up direct deposit before, the process should be pretty familiar.
When it’s time to get all of that revenue into your bank account, Square has several options for getting your money, all found under Balance.
Square will automatically deposit your funds on the next business day (though in some cases it may take two). You can also change your ‘close of day’ to adjust for your time zone or business hours if you would like. The close of day determines when Square cuts off payment deposits for the next business day.
If you need your money even faster, Square offers Instant Deposits that transfer your current Sales Balance immediately — whether it’s a business day or a weekend. This faster service will cost you 1.5% of the transfer amount. You can even use Scheduled Deposits to get your money deposited at each day’s close of business.
Find out all the details about the instant deposit feature, and more about how Square’s deposit options work in general, by checking out our post, The Complete Guide To Your Square Balance, Square Card, & Instant Deposit Options.
The third option is to sign up for Square Checking, a business banking service offered through Sutton Bank. Signing up for this service will allow you to instantly access your balance funds at no additional cost.
Explore More Square Software Options
When you sign up for Square, you’ll be enrolled in Square POS by default. There are other configurations and software options that are available both free and with a premium subscription. Here are the big ones:
|Placeholder||Square For Retail||Square For Restaurants||Square Appointments|
|Free Plan||Number of users: Unlimited||Number of users: Unlimited||Number of users: 1|
|Retail POS app included||Open checks||Calendar|
|Auto-generate SKUs||Split tender||Online booking site|
|Bar code scanning with iPad camera||Online ordering||Services management|
|Advanced items search||Tableside ordering & payments||Square Assistant (handles confirmations and rescheduling automatically)|
|New order creation||Menu management||Commission tracking|
|Cross-location stock counts||Auto-gratuity||Resource tracking|
|Paid Plan||Monthly fee: $60/month per location||Monthly fee: $60/month per location or $299/month per location for premium||Monthly fee: $50/month (2-5 users), $90/month (6-10 users), custom pricing for 10+ staff|
|All free plan features||All free plan features||All free plan features|
|Discounted card-present transaction rate: 2.5% + $0.10||Unlimited KDS devices|
|Cross-location bulk transfers & returns||Advanced table management and course management|
|Advanced inventory management tools & reporting||Advanced reporting|
|Barcode printing||Advanced employee management|
Square For Retail
This POS system works with an iPad and has a redesigned interface and usability geared for retail businesses that have substantial inventory. Instead of scrolling to an item in your inventory, an item is easily searchable by name. The barcode scanning and printing features make keeping up with inventory a bit easier, too.
Check out our Square Retail review for more on price, pros and cons, and a lot more details.
Square For Restaurants
If you are familiar with Square’s POS system, you may be surprised to see how different Square for Restaurants really is. And it has to be. Sit-down restaurants usually require more specialized tools to cover their everyday business needs, and this POS delivers — from table mapping, menu creation, table management, and reporting tools — there are a lot of specialized features here.
Check out our full Square for Restaurants review to find out if this is the right choice for your restaurant.
If your business relies on creating and maintaining appointments for just yourself or an entire team, Square Appointments might be just what you need. Note that this POS option is an iOS exclusive. It’s free for individual users, and pricing starts at $50 a month beyond that.
Check out our in-depth Square Appointments review, including functionality, customization, and features.
Square offers a myriad of specialized software options to make business more productive. Some are free, while others come at an additional cost. Here are some of your options:
- Customer Engagement: Square’s customer engagement tools include a customer database, feedback management, and CRM software.
- Loyalty Program: This tool starts at $45/month per location, but you can try it for free for 30 days. Read our Square Loyalty Program review for an in-depth analysis.
- Team Plus: As outlined in a previous section, pay $35/month per location for advanced reporting and employee management tools. A free 30-day trial is available.
- Payroll: Square Employee and Contractor payroll start at $35/month plus $5/employee or contractor paid. Contractor-Only Payroll is just $5/month per contractor.
- eCommerce: Square offers free space and set up for an online store, and you can integrate with major shopping carts. Read our Square Online Store and eCommerce review.
- Invoicing: Invoices are always free to send, but you pay 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice when your customer pays with credit or debit online. For more on the pros and cons, pricing, and an in-depth look at invoicing with Square, check out our Square Invoices review.
Choose Hardware Options For Your Square Account
Square made a name for itself with its free magstripe reader and its excellent EMV-enabled reader for $49, but those are just the basics.
If you need something more robust in terms of hardware, you can probably find what you need. Square offers countertop POS systems with customer-friendly displays, and if you want to toe the line between countertop vs. mobile, Square also offers a fully portable credit card terminal with a built-in receipt printer.
Square’s countertop POS devices include:
- Square Stand: This hardware option is a tablet stand with a built-in card reader (along with contactless and chip reader) with an affordable price tag, minimal cords, and a swivel stand.
- Square Terminal: A more portable option, Square Terminal accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions. Its sleek design, built-in receipt printer, and generous display size make it a nice, versatile option.
- Square Register: Need something more robust? The Square Register offers a 13.25-inch display to run your Square Point of Sale, and on the opposite side, you have a 7-inch customer display ready for magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions.
For an in-depth look at each of the POS options or to take a gander at all the Square POS kits and bundles, head over to The Complete Guide To Choosing Square POS Credit Card Readers & Cash Register Bundles.
Where To Go Next With Square?
You may have noticed that Square offers a huge ecosystem that small businesses can take advantage of. We’ve only touched on the basics of setting up a Square account here, but there’s so much more. Your next steps could be:
- Setting up your Square online store
- Set up Square payroll to pay your staff
- Check out Square’s marketing features
- See what Square offers nonprofit businesses
Learn To Make The Most Of Your Free Square Account
When you consider that Square is a secure, PCI-compliant option with a transparent pricing plan and offers lots of bells and whistles, it truly is an excellent solution for any small business. I like that it’s so easy to set up an account with Square and that they don’t ask for much in terms of personal information. When it is time to get set up or find reports, the Dashboard is intuitive and easy to navigate.
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