How does Square compare?

At Vantage we market the VeriFone PAYware Mobile iPhone reader for mobile merchants who have the sales volume to support having their own direct merchant account. (How is that for a disclaimer?) However, as a merchant advocate, I'm always trying to recommend the best, lowest cost solution for my clients, and when their situation and environment dictates, I have recommended Square’s mobile payment solution. Of course along with this I've also followed up to get a first hand account of what real merchants thought of the Square experience.

Some cool features of Square:

  • It's simple to get started.
  • After entering a dollar amount for the transaction, you can add a picture from your phone or take a picture of the product you are selling.
  • You can enter and report on cash transactions in addition to card payment transactions.

Some not so cool issues reported with Square:

  • Several reports of issues with the Square application locking up – rebooting - locking up, and swiping multiple times, etc. before getting a transaction to complete.
  • The Square packaging never tells you how to tie your bank account to the merchant processing account, so you will need to figure this out yourself.
  • No support number; only online or via Twitter help.
  • Square will immediately deposit your first $1,000 of sales per week to your bank account. The remaining amount above $1,000 will be deposited into your bank account within 30 days of the transaction. (Hint, if you are doing over $1,000 / week in sales you should get your own merchant account.)
  • If you get a phone call with the Square reader attached (say when you are in the middle of a transaction), you need to remove reader from the ear jack. (And I was told something about the volume on your phone needs to be turned all the way up to get the reader to work.)
  • There is a lack of batch reporting to reconcile with your bank statement. The phone only displays the individual transaction history.

There's been a lot of media hype about Square but it’s always interesting to hear from merchants directly. Bottom line, if you accept very few transactions and only occasionally need card acceptance, Square may work for you. But by comparison, if your needs are more robust, I do recommend you consider these PAYware Mobile app features:

  • Your PAYware account includes a free card reader that plugs into the iPhone dock and encrypts sensitive card data during the swipe process (protecting you and your iPhone).
  • Solid app performance with customer service phone support to help.
  • In addition to the iPhone app, merchants also get access to a full blown virtual terminal gateway that can be used to process transactions, run batch reports, reprint signature capture receipts and much more.

For more information on PAYware Mobile, our free reader program and a comprehensive merchant Interchange rate quote for a mobile merchant account please visit:

by Ty Hardison

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