7 Square Alternatives for Small Businesses [Updated for 2023]

7 Square Alternatives for Small Businesses [Updated for 2023]

Payment processing technology has empowered even the smallest of businesses. Now, even one-person businesses can accept credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, ACH deposits, gift cards, and a multitude of other forms of payment. This makes it easier for small business owners to accommodate customer needs and to get their money. 

There are tons of payment solutions in the market with basic functionality that work for many early-stage, small businesses. Square is one, but that may or may not be the best payment processing solution for you. Depending on your business needs, one of these seven Square competitors might be better suited for you. 

Square alternatives for payment processing

When we say payment processing, we’re specifically talking about the company that processes the credit card payment, mobile payment, ACH deposit, or whatever form of payment is used at the time of the transaction. Your payment processor might be your merchant bank or a third party. Some payment processors (like Square) also provide hardware to conduct in-person sales. 

1. Payment Depot

Payment Depot - Credit Card Processing

Payment Depot is a merchant services provider, so it has a more involved setup but also more advanced security than a payment aggregator like Square. A payment aggregator is essentially a go-between for you and your merchant services provider. This means you can bypass setting up a merchant account, but you also lack the security benefits that Payment Depot offers and are susceptible to unexpected account suspension. Because of this, Payment Depot is especially attractive to merchants with a high average order value (AOV).

Payment Depot is also one of the best Square alternatives because of its pricing. While Square takes a flat percentage plus transaction fee for every transaction (ideal for low AOV), Payment Depot has a subscription pricing structure. Rather than taking a cut out of your sales, you pay a single monthly fee in exchange for the direct cost of interchange. Plus, Payment Depot gives you access to affordable wholesale credit card processing rates, and (like Square) there are no cancellation fees. 

Other things to note when considering Payment Depot as a Square alternative: 

  • Customer support: Payment Depot has an award-winning customer service team that offers 24/7 support, compared to Square’s Monday through Friday office hours. 
  • Mobile app: While Square has its own dedicated app, Payment Depot works with the SwipeSimple app to offer mobile payment processing.

2. PayPal 

Jasmine Paypal

PayPal is next on the list of Square alternatives to consider for your small business. Like Square and Payment Depot, PayPal can handle a multitude of payment types—credit, debit, mobile, contactless, online payments, etc. Similar to Square, PayPal also offers invoicing and sales tax features. Unfortunately for small businesses, Square and PayPal share a reputation for surprise account freezes which delay access to your funds for unpredictable amounts of time. 

PayPal payment processing pricing is based on a flat-rate model. PayPal and Square will both send your first credit card reader for free, with affordable options if you want to add to your setup. For standard card transactions, PayPal charges 2.7% per card-present transaction with the PayPal Here reader and 3.5% for keyed-in transactions. This is a bit higher than Square’s 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. PayPal also has discounted rates for non-profits. 

Also of note when comparing PayPal and Square: 

  • Customer support: PayPal and Square both offer support via live chat, phone, email, support center, and community forum. 
  • Hardware: PayPal has its own collection of card readers, as well as other hardware like charging stands, POS stands, receipt printers, and cash drawers. It also works with several third-party POS providers. Square also has its own hardware. 
  • Mobile app: PayPal and Square both have their own dedicated app, though Square offers more business management features.

Square alternatives for mobile readers

Mobile readers are helpful for small businesses who sell on the go—at events, festivals, fairs, and markets, for example—as well as brick-and-mortar businesses that operate in a large space. A mobile reader allows you and your staff to meet customers where they are, turning almost anywhere into a “checkout counter.” 

3. SwipeSimple


SwipeSimple is a cloud-based mobile reader and payment app that also includes inventory, sales, and transaction history—similar to Square’s extra features (which are more comprehensive). Square and SwipeSimple both allow for invoicing, tips and taxes, reporting, and integration with third-party tools and systems. 

The SwipeSimple B250 mobile card reader is priced at $119, which is a larger investment than Square’s mobile reader options. SwipeSimple’s mobile reader uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect securely with both iOS and Android devices. It supports both magstripe and EMV Quick Chip cards as well as contactless payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.). 

  • Customer support: PayPal and Square both offer support via live chat, phone, email, support center, and community forum. 
  • Hardware: The SwipeSimple Terminal is a robust system that works with a number of smart terminals and devices, while the SwipeSimple B250 ($119) and the SwipeSimple B200 ($99) are simpler dedicated mobile card readers. You can also add an optional stand for $29. Square offers more variety and affordability in terms of hardware.
  • Mobile app: SwipeSimple and Square both have their own dedicated app, though Square offers more business management features.

Square alternatives for retail POS

Your retail point of sale is essentially a modern-day cash register that has been supercharged into a complete business management control center. With a retail POS, you can process payments, add a mPOS, build customer loyalty, track inventory, manage staff, and more. 

4. Clover

Clover Station Pro

In a Clover vs. Square standoff, the biggest difference is the flexibility and variety of out-of-the-box features you get with Clover. While Square has a slew of business management features itself, many come at an added cost. Clover, on the other hand, includes analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), and staffing. You can also add a register, promotions, customer feedback, loyalty programs, and restaurant-specific features for free. Plus, Clover works with a wider variety of third-party tools than Square, so you can integrate it with more of your tech stack for a truly synced business command center.

As far as payment processing fees go, Clover doesn’t actually offer built-in payment processing. Instead, you can shop around for a compatible provider like Payment Depot—ensuring you get the best rate for your small business. Square locks you into their processing rates. 

When looking at Clover as one of the Square alternatives for retail POS software, also remember: 

  • Customer support: Clover customer service is accessible via phone and email, or you can use their support content to self-serve. These options are similar to Square. 
  • Hardware: Square and Clover both have full-featured POS systems. Square Register ($799) and Clover Station Pro ($1,649) and Clover Station ($1,399) are comparable, as are Square Terminal ($299) and Clover Mini ($749) and Clover Flex ($499). Clover Go ($49) is a basic mobile card reader, similar to Square’s (which offers the first one free, and $10 each after that).
  • Mobile app: Clover and Square both have their own dedicated app with a robust POS feature set. Clover offers more features for free. 

5. Vital

Vital Plus

Vital offers two complete smart terminals: Vital Select and Vital Plus. Vital Select ($1,600) is a full retail POS system packed with features that rival Square: inventory management, taxes and tax reporting, employee management, pricing, discounts, and support for a variety of payment options. You can also give customers the option to tip, get refunds, or split payments. 

Vital Plus ($599) is a handheld retail POS/smart terminal with a 5-inch touchscreen and built-in receipt printer and barcode scanner. You also get many of the powerful features that come with Vital Select. 

  • Customer support: Similar to Square, Vital offers limited live support, as well as instructional, video, and FAQ content.
  • Hardware: Square and Vital both offer full-fledged retail POS systems and smart terminals. Square has multiple card readers, while Vital only offers one mobile card reader option. 
  • Mobile app: Vital and Square both have a dedicated app with a comprehensive feature set and full POS compatibility. 

6. Poynt Smart Terminal

Poynt Smart Terminal

Poynt Smart Terminal is a comprehensive retail POS tool with a 7-inch touchscreen, QR and barcode scanner, dedicated processor, and thermal printer. It offers a lot of options in the way of hardware—far more than Square. 

Perhaps the biggest standout in terms of Poynt’s software is its accounting feature set. You can easily integrate it with QuickBooks—your go-to accounting software—as well as pull reports for transactions, taxes, chargebacks, orders, and settlements. It also offers other features like Square (though Square’s often come with an additional fee). For example, Poynt has CRM, staff management, and taxes and discounts. 

  • Customer support: Clover customer service is accessible via phone and email, or you can use their support content to self-serve. These options are similar to Square. 
  • Hardware: Poynt hardware is robust and offers tons of built-in features, and its Smart Terminal is affordably priced at a monthly rental of $30. 
  • Mobile app: Poynt’s mobile app includes features for POS, payment processing, and business management.

7. Shopify POS

800Px Shopify Logo.svg

If you’re looking for a more personalized POS system—one that’s particularly suited for eCommerce businesses—Shopify may be the way to go. Even though Square offers many of the POS features that Shopify does, the latter does a better job of tying your in-store and online sales together.

Shopify has its own payment processor—Shopify Payments—and even though the POS app itself is free to use, you’ll still need to be on a Shopify plan that costs anywhere between $9 and $299 per month. In addition, you’ll be paying processing fees ranging from 2.4% to 2.7% per transaction depending on your plan.

  • Customer support: Shopify provides round-the-clock support over chat and email as opposed to Square’s Monday through Friday business hours.
  • Hardware: As far as hardware is concerned, you’ll need a Shopify card reader and a smartphone or tablet to run the Shopify POS app. You can also use the Shopify POS to record transactions without a Shopify card reader, but you won’t be able to integrate any payments processed with an external reader if you use a third-party processor.
  • Mobile app: The Shopify POS app includes features for omnichannel selling, inventory management, staff management, and unified reporting.

Choosing the best Square alternatives for your small business

Highest Rated Payment Processor In The Market

Your payment processing technology is just one of many important decisions you have to make for your small business. And there’s no universal answer. It’s important to analyze your unique needs and which options are best suited to accommodate those needs. 

Payment Depot gives you access to affordable wholesale credit card processing rates that favor most small- and medium-sized businesses. Plus, our membership-based pricing ensures that you save more as you process more payments. Contact our award-winning customer support team today to learn how we can help your business save up to $400 a month in processing costs.

Want to save 40% on payment processing? Let's Talk!