What is Square and is it for you? Features, pros & cons

Adam Rozsa

Square is a financial services company that offers businesses a simple way of accepting payments. The platform was launched in 2009 by entrepreneur Jim McKelvey and the current CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey.

This isn’t just any payment platform, though, as Square now deals with millions of businesses and is often mentioned alongside a titan of the industry: PayPal.

Among Square’s products, there’s the Cash App which allows customers to send and receive money easily, and a Point-of-Sale application to help merchants confirm purchases on-the-fly via a mobile device.

Wise Business is another alternative to Square, which could save you up to 19x in fees and let you send and receive money across 70 countries – but more on this later.

Save up to 19x with Wise Business

📝 Table of contents

Is Square for you?

One of the toughest decisions as a business owner is which payment platform to go with. It seems like every day more show up, so how do you know if this service is the best for your business needs?

Well, this credit card processor is primarily intended for small businesses and for making Point-of-Sale (POS) payments. In this context, a small business can be defined as a company that makes less than $10,000 a month. The reason why Square is a great fit for small businesses is the lack of a fixed monthly cost and the free Square POS system, which allows you to manage in-store purchases seamlessly.

While PayPal looms large in the payment processing industry, its reputation as one of the most popular payment methods doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for your business. PayPal and Square both bring something to the table, so to dismiss either without consideration would be to eliminate a potentially viable option.

What Square brings to the table, and what sets it apart from the competition, is its excellent features that help save small businesses time and boost their profits. Here are some of the most compelling features the service offers:

  • No monthly fees¹
  • No minimum requirements
  • Accept card payments anywhere
  • POS software
  • Online ordering and eCommerce
  • Business management tools

What services does Square offer?

What first made Square such a hit among business owners was the innovative mobile payments processing app that made it easy to accept card payments. Since then, the service has gone from strength to strength, and today it offers up a feast of services you can get your teeth sunk into.

To give you a clear idea of what to expect if you decide to sign up for Square, here’s a list of some of its most appealing services:

Selling online or in-person

With Square, business-owners can organize both their online shop and their brick-and-mortar stores through a merchant account. Credit card processing is made simple both in-person and online, which makes it much easier to track and confirm sales on the fly.

Here are four ways Square can help you streamline your online and in-person sales:

  • Processing Payments: Square offers customers a free POS mobile app to process payments that is compatible with several hardware card reader options as well as several online store payment options.²

  • POS: Whatever your POS needs, Square has you covered. Its POS system has worked for more than 2 million businesses and there’s a Square for restaurants, appointments, and retail.³

  • Square Online: If you have aspirations of creating an online store for your business, or even if you already have one, Square can help you start selling with no monthly fees and quick set-up.³

  • Square Appointments: Another way Square can streamline the way your business is run is through appointments. With the company’s app, scheduling is a breeze, and you can use a whole host of team management tools to boost client communication.⁴

Money management

Money management is another area in which the payment platform excels; from invoices to business loans, you can take control of your finances with Square:

  • Invoicing: Square allows you to send invoices and digital estimates wherever you are, and then track whether the invoices are paid or unpaid in real-time. Invoices are straightforward, and clients can pay with a single click.⁵

  • Business loan: Square Capital is a program that offers business loans with the value of $300-$100,00. Square provides a customized offer based on your current card sales and then lets you pick the size of the loan.⁶

  • Business debit card: The Square Card provides you with instant access to the funds you process through Square, and it is free from monthly, sign-up, and annual fees.⁷

If you are looking for a great business card alternative, how about taking a look at the Wise Business debit card? There are no hidden fees, and you'll always pay the real exchange rate when doing business overseas – across 70 countries.

Join Wise Business today

Customer tools

Customer tools

There are also several customer tools Square offers, which can help you grow your business and provide customers with loyalty rewards:

  • Marketing: Square Marketing allows you to create and manage email marketing campaigns in a matter of minutes. This is a simple service that can boost your company’s profile and online reputation through automated email campaigns.⁸

  • Loyalty programs: Customers are always looking for reasons to stick with one company over another, and Square’s loyalty programs can help them make the right decision. Using the POS or online systems, you can join the many other sellers on Square who enjoy a 40% increase in customer visit frequency.⁹

Business management

Effective business management is key to growth, yet it can consume all of your time if you’re not careful. Here are some ways in which Square helps to simplify the ways you run your business:

  • Square Payroll: Square offers businesses full-service payroll, automated tax filings, and employee benefits wrapped up into one convenient package.¹⁰

  • Team management: As for team management, you can rely on Square’s software which lets you schedule meetings, pay your staff, and carry out other responsibilities all from your point of sale.¹¹

Square pros & cons

If you’re looking for a simple breakdown on Square, including the good and the bad, here’s a brief overview of the pros and cons:


  • Square is incredibly simple to set up and also easy to use.
  • The service is packed full of useful features that help small businesses to streamline management and payments.
  • The pricing scheme is both transparent and fair.


  • Unfortunately, Square doesn’t offer cross-border card payments which rules out the possibility of international transactions.¹²

An alternative for international payments

An alternative for international payments

If what you’re looking for is quick business payments spanning multiple currencies and countries, then it’s worth considering Wise Business.

Wise Business offers reasonable fees and low exchange rates, cutting costs for your businesses, so you can enjoy more overall profit. With this account, you can do the following:

  • Set up an IBAN, routing number, sort code, and more essential information within a single account.
  • Pay up to 1,000 people in one go, and without the astronomical fees.
  • Receive payments from anywhere in the world without hefty conversion or recipient fees.
  • Pay invoices in more than 70 currencies, and save up to 19x on fees.

Open a Wise Business account today

Bottom line

Square is an excellent payment service that offers up top features that will appeal to owners of small businesses and those looking for a POS system. While it might not compete with PayPal in some aspects, Square is used by tens of millions of businesses, and its success speaks volumes to its quality.

The service is so much more than a means of accepting card payments, too, since it offers comprehensive business management tools, customer rewards, and so much more.

  1. Fees and Payments FAQ - Square
  2. Payments - Square
  3. Online Store - Square
  4. Appointments - Square
  5. Invoices - Square
  6. Small Business Loans - Square
  7. Business Debit Card - Square
  8. Marketing Services - Square
  9. Customer Loyalty - Square
  10. Online Payroll Services - Square
  11. Team Management - Square
  12. International Availability - Square

All sources checked on 29 April 2021

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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