Square for Small Business

When it comes time to choose a payment and point of sale vendor, Square is a popular option for small businesses. The company was founded in 2009, and has grown into a tech giant to rival the biggest names in Silicon Valley (their 2020 revenue was 9.49 billion.) These are pretty convincing bona fides. But you may be wondering if Square is right for you.

Here are the main advantages of using Square as a small business:

  • Easy setup: With Square, you can plug in the reader to your phone or tablet, and start selling to your customers quickly. 
  • Free tools: the card reader and point-of-sale app are included at no extra cost. (You pay the credit card processing fees.) 
  • Customizable Options: from the original Square Reader (free) to the more elaborate Square Terminal ($999), you’ve got lots of choices available, depending on your situation. You can add on more functionality for additional fees, including payroll, email marketing, and much more.

However, Square isn’t the right fit for all small businesses. Here are the drawbacks:

  • Frequent Account Holds: it is very easy to sign up for Square – you can open an account with zero human interaction. In order to manage risk, Square freezes your account when “unusual” activity is detected. This often happens in perfectly normal transactions that are larger than usual. If the amount of your average transaction is irregular, you risk your account being frozen. If you can’t afford to experience these kinds of delays, Square may not be the best choice. The same applies to withholding – when you receive your first large payment, Square will hold these funds until it determines that your account is not a risk. The Better Business Bureau has received over 1,000 complaints from Square users about this issue.
  • Additional Technology Required: In some pricing packages, the Square card reader itself is free. Here’s the catch: you’ll need a smart phone or tablet with a data plan to attach it to. (If you’ve chosen the $999 Square Register, you do not need additional devices.) This is a significant expense to consider for many small businesses. 
  • Poor customer service: Square is not known for its accessibility to customers. If you are a Square account holder and need customer service help, you will be directed to an email address at every opportunity. Employing customer service reps is expensive, which we understand for a startup trying to keep overhead low, but a huge company like Square could do better. Nevertheless, account holders routinely report that getting a response takes several days. Square supports advice forums in which users can advise each other, but if you are not tech savvy, this isn’t as helpful. If customer service is a priority for you, this may be a deal breaker.

“Hello…hello?” Square’s customer service makes it notoriously difficult to talk to an actual human.

Square for Small Business – Alternatives

Through there are advantages to using Square for your small business, there are also risks. And we’re a bit concerned that their Better Business Bureau rating is 1.07 out of 5 stars. If you’re wanting to go with a smaller company that’s got your back, PatronPay is a good option. PatronPay is an all-in-one payment, card-reading, and invoicing solution. Here’s what we like about it:

  • Simple, Affordable Pricing: Square has a ton of options – it can be confusing to figure out what you’ll actually be paying. With PatronPay, the pricing is very simple. You buy the device, buy a small data plan, and then you’re ready to go. Your business might be too big or too small for this to be the best choice, but you might find that it’s just the right fit. Customers who love PatronPay include food trucks, nonprofits, concession stands, charity events, pop-up restaurants, contractors, and more.
  • No Devices Needed: You do not need to buy an iPad to use as your smart payment device. Instead, the PatronPay terminal can be purchased for a one-time fee of  $399 (much cheaper than an iPad.)
  • Customer Service: We don’t know about you, but we enjoy talking to a real live human who can help solve our problems! In addition to 24/7 email and chat support, during business hours you can talk to one of our team members right here in the USA (not a call center.)

Learn more here: https://patronpay.us

The PatronPay terminal

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