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Square Competitors and Alternatives: Who Stacks Up Against this Payment Solution Company?

Square Competitors

With the modernization of retail and e-commerce, many small business owners are finding ways to conduct mobile transactions with customers while also working to keep operation costs low.

Square and other mobile transaction points of sale systems allow more small business owners to connect with and serve more customers than ever.

You may have seen a variety of methods different businesses accept in-person payments.

Your local coffee shop every more has a tablet that pivots around for you to leave a gratuity, but the local deli has a small contactless card reader that sits politely at the front.

Later, you notice one of your friends selling her artwork and accepting payment on her phone.

Easy in-person payment processing solutions have allowed more businesses to serve more customers while also being mindful of narrowing the margin of operating costs for small businesses.Square Competitors

Square Competitors

Square competitors include Paypal Here, Shopkeep POS, and Clover.

Each provides a point of sale and transaction services for small business owners.

Depending on the business and its specific needs, these companies can provide a simple card reader to be used as an attachment to a smartphone, or an entire point of sale system for your local sandwich or coffee shop.

With that, let’s dive into these services transforming small businesses everywhere.


Square Competitors: Paypal Here


Square Competitors

Paypal Here is a wonderful service for businesses that already conduct transactions on Paypal.

If a business has an established, dedicated Paypal account, Paypal Here allows funds and transactions to occur easily.

It offers two different card reader options for its clients, one with and without contactless payment options – such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Paypal Here has found its footing with online businesses transitioning or expanding to accept person-to-person payments.

Their card readers are simple and portable and allow these businesses to keep all of their transactions in the same account. 

Some point-of-sale systems, such as Square, are incompatible with Paypal and require its customers to create a Square account.

Depending on the business’s needs, especially if that business heavily relies on Paypal for the majority of its transactions already, Paypal Here makes it really easy and effortless to accept an in-person payment.

Paypal has the benefit of longevity and reputation in the payment processing sector, with revenue coming in at $21.5 billion.


Square Competitors: ShopKeep POS

Square Competitors

ShopKeep POS offers three software options, allowing it to serve restaurants or retail businesses of all sizes — Basic, Essential, and Advanced.

ShopKeep’s Point of Sale system provides a register, real-time transaction analytics, unlimited inventory items, and employee management at its introductory Basic tier.

Its ubiquitous tablet Point of Sale makes it accessible to any business, compatible with both Apple iPad and Android tablets.

ShopKeep understands that each business’ needs are as unique and individual as thumbprints.

Therefore, they offer a flat-rate payment processing fee or can create a customized pricing structure based on the size of the business and its number of transactions and sales volume.

ShopKeep’s revenue is estimated at $50 million dollars, very recently acquired by Lightspeed POS for $440 million.


Square Competitors: Clover


Square Competitors

Clover is one of the only Point of Sale systems that do not require the business to own a smartphone or tablet.

Clover offers a wide range of options, from a simple card reader to a complete countertop system, allowing them to serve a wide range of businesses.

Clover has a simple pricing structure since all but one of its systems is self-sufficient.

The only Clover device that needs a smartphone/tablet is the Clover Go, a $59 Bluetooth smart device-enabled card reader for magnetic stripe, chip, and contactless payment options.

The handheld Clover Flex to the full countertop Clover Point of Sale systems is perfect for business owners that do not already have a smartphone or tablet for their business.

Because of its relatively new entrance to the point of sale payment processing game, it has less than 2% of the market share, compared to veterans such as Square (43%) and LightSpeed/Shopkeep (11%).


What is Square’s Advantage?

Square’s advantage over its competitors lies in its ease and accessibility.

Thousands of new, small, and start-up businesses use Square as their preferred choice of Point of Sale system because it is easy and simple to use right out of the box.

The price of Square’s hardware is less than some of its competitors and is a great, simple solution with not a lot of fuss.

Square offers a mobile card reader with contactless payment (Apple Pay, Google Pay) capabilities for small businesses on the go.

However, a business can scale up to an entire countertop point of sale system, including a complete terminal and register with a good selection of free business tools included.

Finally, Square’s advantage comes with its expertise in person-to-person transactions for small businesses.

It has a straightforward transaction fee structure and direct transfers to bank accounts.

Square Competitors: Final Thoughts

Square has solid footing in the Point of Sale and payment processing market for small businesses.

It generates $9.5 billion in revenue and employs over 3,300 people.

Paypal Here is best for those with an established Paypal merchant account and want a super easy, convenient way to accept in-person payments.

Shopkeep provides customizable pricing and tiered software options, allowing retail businesses and restaurants of all sizes to curate a point of sale system that works best for them.

Clover, a relative rookie in the industry, seeks to serve businesses that do not already have a smart device for their business to use as a point of sale.

They provide a variety of hardware options, from a handheld device to a complete countertop register system.

Small business owners have a wealth of options when it comes to accepting in-person payments.

It can be as small as a card reader attachment that works with a mobile smartphone app, or a complete countertop point of sale system with real-time transaction analytics and other business tools.

Depending on each business and their specific needs, they can find a payment processing system that can help them serve more happy customers.

Options include mobile card readers, handheld payment POS systems, simple or variable transaction costs, and preferred business accounts, such as PayPal, Square, or other merchant accounts.


Brent Davis has been writing about the financial markets for 10 years and worked in research for the last five years at a Fortune 500 company. Brent's investing strategy is to buy high-quality companies and then let compounding do its thing.