In an almost cashless society, it is key to a businesses success to be able to accept card payments. Therefore, choosing the right card payment provider is an important decision.
At Card Switcher we know what matters to you and your customers. You want something that is reliable, secure and won’t break the bank (while you fill up yours).
So to help you find the right fit, we’re comparing two of the best card payment acceptors on the market - Zettle and Square.
In a head to head, we will compare pricing, features, functions and extras to give you a complete overview of the two providers.
Both Zettle and Square are great choices. But which one should you go for?
Is Zettle or Square better?
The argument for whether Zettle or Square is better is completely subjective. Each provider is well equipped to give you great service, but whether one is better than the other depends on what you’re looking for.
Zettle is owned by Paypal, and their goal is to help small businesses grow and succeed. They offer individually tailored POS systems to hospitality and retail.
Square started as a small reader for small businesses, to ensure business owners had an easy way of accepting payments. They have solutions customised to a wide range of businesses including bakeries, salons and takeaways.
Below we have included a comprehensive list of all the essential information about both providers.
|Device Cost||From £29 (Card Reader 2)||From £16 + VAT (Square reader)|
|Transaction Fee (reader)||1.75% per transaction||1.75% per transaction|
2.5% per manual transaction
|Transaction Fee (invoice)||2.5% per transaction||1.9% EEA/UK cards|
2.9% non-EEA/UK cards
|Payouts in Bank Account||1-2 working days||Next working day|
|Solution Type||Chip and PIN, contactless, eWallet, manually keyed||Chip and PIN, contactless and eWallet|
|Pin Confirmation||On reader via keypad||On terminal, tablet or phonescreen|
|Cards they accept||VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Discover, all major debit cards||VISA, Mastercard and American Express|
|Other methods accepted||Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay||Apple Pay, Google Pay|
|Customer service offering||Phone Support Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm||24/7 support centre (automated chat bot)|
Card Readers and Other Hardware
Both providers offer up standard card readers and a variety of hardware to allow you to customise your POS setup to your needs. We have separately outlined what each provider offers and the cost of each item.
|Zettle Reader 2||From £29|
|Zettle Terminal||From £149 excl VAT|
(£178.80 incl. VAT)
|Zettle Ocean reader and dock set||£98 excl. VAT (£117.60 incl. VAT)|
|Zettle Dock 2||£39 excl VAT||N/A|
|Compact cash drawer||£49 excl. VAT||N/A|
|Barcode scanner||£219 excl. VAT||N/A|
|Portable receipt printer||£189 excl. VAT|
|Zettle Store Kit Mini||£189 excl. VAT||N/A|
Zettle has a huge range of hardware on offer, especially kits which are configured to fit a variety of businesses including retail and food and drink. The above list only includes the key pieces of hardware your business is likely to purchase. Read our Zettle card reader review or Zettle printer comparison to find out more about the hardware.
|Square Reader||£16 + VAT|
|Square Terminal||£149 + VAT|
|Square Stand||£99 + VAT|
|Square Register||£599 + VAT|
|Printer Driven Cash Drawer||£59 + VAT||N/A|
|USB Barcode Scanner||£74.99 + VAT|
|USB Receipt printer||£159 + VAT||N/A|
|Square Register Kit||£1009 + VAT||N/A|
All of Square’s hardware is compatible with their fully functioning and well equipped app, “Square Point of Sale”. You can read our Square card reader review to find out more.
Much like Zettle, in addition to the hardware listed above, Square has a huge range of hardware options on offer. This even includes replacement parts you may need, such as cables or a mounting kit.
When it comes to making the final decision between the two, it can be as simple as a comparison in price.
|Card Terminal||From £29||From £16|
|Chip and Pin/Contactless Payments||1.75% per transaction||1.75% per transaction|
|Invoice Payments||2.5% per transaction||1.75% in person payment|
2.5% online card payment
|Keyed Virtual Terminal Payments||N/A||2.5% per transaction|
|Payment links||2.5% per transaction||1.9% per EEA/UK transaction|
2.9% per non EEA/UK transaction
|Ecommerce Payments||N/A||1.9% per EEA/UK transaction|
2.9% per non EEA/UK transaction
|Payouts||Free (within 2 working days)||Free (next working day) or,|
1% per instant transfer
|Refunds||Free (transaction fee not refunded)||Free (transaction fee not refunded)|
|Chargebacks||Free (cover only up to £250)||Free|
The above figures are subject to change and are noted as per the listed prices on each site. Some pricing may vary depending on your business i.e. transaction amounts, volume of transactions and whether your business is high risk.
Payment Settlement Time
We understand that you want to have access to your funds as quickly as possible. Which is why one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to choosing between Zettle and Square is the payment settlement time.
Zettle states that your money will arrive in your account within 2 business days.
Square states that your funds will be deposited into your bank account the next working day. For an additional cost of 1% per transfer, you can receive funds within minutes. However, there is a daily maximum transfer amount of £2500.
Virtual Terminal Payments
If you offer both in person, phone and online transactions to your customers, you will be seeking a card reader/POS system that supports this.
Zettle’s virtual terminal is easily accessible by downloading the ZettleGo app. An app that you can download to your iOS or Android device and access a huge range of features. You are able to use the ZettleGo app and all its tools without needing to purchase a Zettle card reader or terminal.
Square offers up a virtual terminal that is simple and easy to use from your computer. It allows you to charge cards from your browser, accept and record cash or gift card payments, send payment requests and split a transaction across multiple payment methods. On top of all this Square offers up additional free tools like scheduling payments, printing receipts and setting up a product library.
Signing up to a provider can be made all the better when they offer various additional features, especially if it's free. Point of sale features tend to be a host of extra tools that are designed to make accepting payments easier.
In addition to all of the features already explored in the article, below are some of the additional tools you can expect from each provider.
- Store digital receipts on a cloud.
- Free 12 month warranty on all hardware.
- Edit, monitor and update stock levels and inventory.
- Analyse sales and staff performance with daily reports.
- Integrations allow you to sell via ecommerce and social media.
- Allows you to offer click and collect, delivery and shipping.
- Schedule, manage and pay team members with the Team Management tool.
- Create customer profiles to track preferences and purchases.
- Securely keep cards of file for faster checkout.
- Loyalty schemes can be created and customers rewarded via the POS app.
Integration with External Software
On your search to find the best card reader you may be interested in exactly that, the reader. So you may want to know if you can buy the hardware and keep your own software.
Zettle offers up seamless integration with a variety of external applications. So you can find the best fit for your business, they offer up POS, accounting and ecommerce integrations. Working with the likes of Adobe, quickbooks, Shopify, and woocommerce.
Square also aims to offer up a solution that is best suited to your business. Their software is compatible with a huge variety of external apps, so much so, that they have even created an app marketplace. Integrating with more than just POS, accounting and ecommerce, Square syncs with booking and inventory management software too.
Ease of Set Up
Zettle accounts and POS can be set up and ready to go in a matter of minutes. Whether it’s the reader, terminal or full kit, it’s a straightforward set up where you follow the instructions that appear on the screen or in-app. They have a help centre that is kitted out with everything you would need to know, with a handy chat bot function for any unanswered questions.
Square is a straightforward system to set up. On their website they outline a simple 5 step solution to getting your POS system set up and ready to use. The handy guide talks you through each element, how to set it up and why it’s beneficial to both you and your customers. However, if you hit any bumps in the road you can contact customer support Monday through Friday 9am - 5pm.
Both Zettle and Square are securely protected, as they comply with industry standard Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance requirements. You can be rest assured that with both Zettle and Square you and your customers' data is protected from hackers, fraud or being shared with third parties.
Zettle has also ensured that their card readers hardware is tamper proof, it actually self-destructs if someone tries to interfere with it (keep this in mind!). Plus, Square states that they have an in-house team monitoring server security, giving you additional peace of mind.
To understand more and learn everything you need to know about keeping, you can read our guide on PCI DSS compliance.
We hope that our comprehensive overview of Zettle and Square has shown you all of the ins and outs of the providers and helped to make your decision easier. With both providers securing places in our list of best card readers, it is no wonder that you are now comparing the two.
Zettle is a great choice if you are looking for affordable hardware, reliable software and backing from a household name like Paypal. They also offer up a huge range of additional amenities free of charge. A top choice if you are looking for either individual or integrated solutions.
Square should be your pick if you are in the market for a provider that has thought of everything. From replacement hardware parts, instant access to fees, staff management software and customer service that is provided by a human - Square really has covered all basis.
If you are looking to compare other services, you can compare card processing fees with ease with Card Switcher.