The 10 Best POS Square Alternatives for Small Businesses in 2021

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Square is a great point of sale (POS) system that allows you to collect payments in-person and online — but it’s far from the only option available. Today, there are plenty of fantastic Square alternatives out there worth considering.

But with so many to choose from, which Square competitor should you use?

In this article, you’ll get a straightforward guide to 10 top Square alternatives to help you choose the best option for your business.

(Disclosure: This website is a part of Shopify inc. media properties. Although we strive to publish objective, accurate, and factual content, this article may contain biased opinions.)

10 Best Square Competitors in 2021

Want to cut to the chase? Here are our favourite alternatives to Square in 2021:

  1. Shopify Point of Sale
  2. Stripe Terminal
  3. PayPal Here
  4. QuickBooks Point of Sale
  5. Toast
  6. Lightspeed
  7. Clover
  8. Epos Now
  9. Salehoo online directory

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Square Alternative

Before we explore 10 of the best services like Square, let’s take a quick look at 3 things to consider when choosing a POS for your business.

1. Better Pricing

Services like Square typically charge businesses in 3 ways:

  • A monthly fee to use the service
  • Transaction fees applied to every sale
  • Hardware costs to get set up

That said, all of Square’s entry-level plans are free of monthly fees. Here’s how Square’s transaction fees are structured:

  • In-person card and contactless payments: 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction
  • Online payments: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
 Transaction Fees: Searching for an Alternative Cheaper than Square

In general, these transaction fees are inline with most POS solutions. But it’s worth paying attention to slight differences in fees as they can quickly rack up — especially if your business processes many small payments.

Also, Square provides a free magstripe reader that you can use to swipe credit cards with your smartphone. But to process chip and contactless payments, you’ll need to purchase a Square Reader for $49.

Keep these costs in mind when evaluating other apps like Square.

2. Ecommerce Integration

Just a few years ago, companies had to integrate many different services to manage the business effectively.

For example, businesses needed a POS system for in-store sales, separate inventory management software, an ecommerce website provider, and an online payment gateway. To make things even more hectic, if a business wanted to sell via online platforms like eBay and Etsy, they’d have to manually track and manage inventory to maintain accuracy across each sales channel.

That’s just exhausting!

In short, trying to integrate different services can be inefficient and time-consuming. And to add insult to injury, each service would charge fees that would quickly add up to a significant chunk of change each month.

These days, small businesses can’t afford to waste time or money patching together different services. To avoid that, it’s worth choosing a service that fulfills all of your business’s needs.

So, how do you want to do business? For example, you might want to sell in-person, via your website, and through online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and eBay.

Whichever POS you select, make sure it allows you to sell via your chosen channels easily. This way, you can keep everything under one roof, which will help you reduce costs and administrative tasks so you can focus on growing your business.

3. Scalability

You may not need an ecommerce website or advanced business analytics right now. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need access to more features and tools.

As a result, it’s a good idea to choose a Square alternative that provides opportunities to scale.

So, it’s best to choose a square competitor that offers a few different plans and price points. Look for features like advanced reporting, tracking, and analytics. Also, check to see if higher plans offer reduced transaction fees.

10 Best POS Square Alternatives to Consider for Your Business in 2021

Now that you know what to look for in a Square alternative let’s check out the best options available. Here are 10 of our favorite POS Square competitors to consider.

1. Shopify Point of Sale

 Better Than Square: Square vs. Shopify Point of Sale 

Shopify is the complete business solution — this ecommerce platform has everything you need to run your business online and offline. For example, the Basic Shopify plan gives you a ton of features for just $29 per month, including:

  • A versatile POS system that unifies your in-store and online sales.
  • Feature-packed yet simple-to-use inventory management and tracking software
  • An ecommerce website with free themes that you can customize
  • Access to more than 6,000 Shopify apps to add virtually every feature imaginable
  • Built-in reporting and analytics tools
  • Integrations with tons of online sales channels, such as Amazon, Facebook, etc.

Plus, Shopify provides 24/7 support via chat and email.

Pricing

Shopify’s pricing plans are pretty straightforward. There are 5 options available:

  • Shopify Lite: $9/month, plus 2.4% and 30¢ per transaction. Take payments in-person and online.
  • Basic Shopify: $29/month, plus 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction. Build an ecommerce website and manage your entire business under one roof.
  • Shopify: $79/month, plus 2.6% and 30¢ per transaction. Get access to more features and lower transaction fees.
  • Shopify Advanced: $299/month, plus 2.4% and 30¢ per transaction. Scale your business with advanced features and even lower transaction fees.
  • Shopify Plus: $2000+/month, plus transaction fees. Shopify’s enterprise offering with custom pricing.

Shopify also offers a range of POS hardware to suit every business need.

2. Stripe Terminal

Stripe Terminal

Stripe is a hugely popular payment solution for online businesses — and Stripe Terminal is the company’s POS offering.

This Square alternative is flexible and is designed to integrate with pretty much every other software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool you use. As a result, you can use Stripe to control every aspect of the customer experience — for example, you can use it to create a fully customized branded online checkout.

That said, you’ll likely need a team of programmers to handle the various web development tasks needed to build it into your system successfully.

Pricing

Stripe doesn’t charge a monthly fee, and its basic POS transaction fees are attractive — just 2.7% plus 5¢ per payment. However, if you want access to Stripe’s complete payments platform, the Integrated plan charges 2.9% plus 30¢ per card charge.

You’ll also need to purchase Stripe’s basic card reader for $59.

3. PayPal Here

Companies Like Square: PayPal Here

PayPal is another heavy-hitting Square alternative worth considering — PayPal Here is the company’s mobile app and POS solution.

This Square competitor allows you to accept payments via credit and debit cards, PayPal accounts, and Venmo. You can also use the platform to accept payments via your website with a PayPal button.

This POS solution also provides basic inventory tracking, staff management tools, and sales analytics. In addition, there’s an extensive help center, and PayPal offers support via live chat and phone.

Pricing

PayPal’s chip and swipe card reader is free, and you can upgrade to a chip and tap machine for $79.99. This Square alternative charges 2.7% plus 30¢ for card payments and 2.9% plus 30¢ for online transactions.

4. QuickBooks Point of Sale

QuickBooks Point of Sale

QuickBooks is a popular accounting software company that also offers a POS solution.

This Square competitor provides payment processing, customer management, inventory management, and — as expected — comprehensive financial reporting.

However, unlike the other Square alternatives on this list, QuickBooks point of sale isn’t cloud-based. So, you’ll need to download and install the software on each device you want to use.

For these reasons, this Square alternative may be a good choice for brick-and-mortar stores keen to streamline their finances. However, it’s not ideal for businesses with online stores.

Pricing

Designed for traditional retail stores, QuickBooks’ hardware selection includes a robust set of cash registers, barcode scanners, and receipt printers.

QuickBooks charges a one-time payment to use its POS system, with 3 options starting at $720. You can then opt for pay-as-you-go transaction fees or a monthly subscription.

5. Toast

Apps Like Square Cash: Toast

Toast is a POS system similar to Square but designed specifically for restaurants. It provides a comprehensive set of features to help restaurants manage front-of-house and back-of-house tasks, such as payment processing, customer engagement analytics, and sales reports.

It also provides tools to improve staff management as well as pricing and purchasing strategies. Additionally, Toast offers a set of complementary tools, such as Payroll, Team Management, and Toast Delivery Services.

This Square alternative also integrates with top food delivery apps such as GrubHub.

Pricing

Toast POS offers an impressive selection of hardware designed for restaurants. This Square competitor charges $75 per month for one register while transaction fees are determined individually.

6. Lightspeed

Credit Card Processing Like Square: Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS is a feature-rich solution created for retailers and restaurants. Not only does it provide robust inventory and order management tools, but it also offers specialist features for things like floor plan management, customer loyalty, and marketing campaigns.

You can use this Square alternative to accept credit and debit cards, contactless payments, and even gift cards.

If that’s not enough, all plans include 24/7 support.

Pricing

Lightspeed has five plans ranging from $69 to $229 per month, depending on the features you need. Card-present transactions cost 2.6% plus 10¢ — the card-not-present rate is 2.6% plus 30¢.

For hardware costs you’ll need to contact a sales associate.

7. Clover

Clover

Clover is a Square alternative designed for restaurants and retailers. It’s highly customizable and offers a set of advanced features, such as performance analytics and sales reporting.

If you also want to sell online, this Square alternative integrates seamlessly with many top ecommerce platforms.

You can accept payments in a few different ways with a range of hardware options, including registers, mobile handsets, and smartphone accessories.

Clover offers 24/7 customer service via phone and email.

Pricing

Clover’s hardware is a little pricier than many of the Square alternatives on this list. Along with hardware costs, you’ll need to pay monthly subscription and transaction fees.

Clover’s cheapest plan will cost you $69 for basic hardware, $9.95 per month for the Lite plan, and 2.7% plus 10¢ per in-person transaction.

8. Epos Now

Alternatives to Square: Epos Now

Epos Now is a POS system and Square alternative for businesses in the retail and hospitality industries.

It has plenty of business-specific POS features, too. For example, hospitality businesses will benefit from tools to manage table layouts, split bills, online bookings, and automatic restocking.

There are also comprehensive financial reporting features and 24/7 customer support. This Square alternative also integrates with top online business services, including Shopify and Xero.

Pricing

Epos Now offers 3 types of POS hardware: handheld systems ($189), tablet systems ($599), and complete systems ($499).

Plans start from $39 per month, but you’ll need to contact a sales associate to discuss your specific needs.

Summary: The Best Square Alternatives in 2021

A POS system acts as your business’s mission control, so it pays to consider a few companies like Square and choose the best solution for your needs.

Remember, if you want to build your business in-store and online, look for a POS with ecommerce integrations and room to grow. Many POS solutions offer a free trial, so be sure to check out your favourites first-hand before investing too heavily.

In summary, here’s a quick rundown of our favourite alternatives to Square:

  1. Shopify Point of Sale
  2. Stripe Terminal
  3. PayPal Here
  4. QuickBooks Point of Sale
  5. Toast
  6. Lightspeed
  7. Clover
  8. Epos Now

If you’re looking for a Square alternative that has everything you need so you can focus your attention on growing your business, sign up for Shopify’s 14-day free trial now.

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