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6 Best Square Alternatives: Save More Money in 2024

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist
Do Square’s basic POS devices and high per-transaction fees no longer fit the bill? You’ve come to the right place to find the best Square alternatives. Drawing on my degree in Economics and months-long research, I’ve found six Square alternatives that will suit any type of business.

Although ultra-popular, the truth is that Square only works for entry-level businesses processing less than $5,000 a month. It doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but Square’s higher per-transaction fees can quickly pile up, especially if you process multiple micropayments.

In my quest to find the best Square alternatives, I came across a few horror stories of merchants experiencing frozen funds and terminated accounts with little-to-no warning. On top of that, Square’s support is hard to reach, especially if your account gets canceled and you are no longer considered a customer.

Switching to some of the top Square alternatives can mean better account stability, reliable 24/7 support, and significantly lower pricing for high volume sales.

Do you process at least $2,000+/month? Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is a more affordable and reliable Square alternative thanks to its lower in-person per-transaction fees and high approval rates. Check out LMS or keep reading to discover five other better Square alternatives.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Alternatives to Square in 2024

    1. Leaders Merchant Services1 – The most affordable Square alternative for small or new businesses.
    2. PAYARC1 – Best Square alternative for businesses that sell internationally.
    3. PaymentCloud1 – Best Square alternative for high-risk merchants.

See 3 More Great Options | Comparison Table

What We Look For in the Best Square Alternatives

During my comprehensive research process, I looked for credit card processors with specific features Square either doesn’t have or struggles to compete with.
  • Better pricing for high-volume businesses. Square charges higher-than-average per-transaction fees, which can quickly add up if you process a high volume of transactions. My top two recommendations provide the industry’s lowest per-transaction fees, and the other options also have reasonable rates.
  • Reliable customer support. Square support is hard to reach as a customer and even harder if your account is unexpectedly terminated. The companies I recommend have highly responsive and, in some cases, round-the-clock support teams at your disposal.
  • Advanced POS systems. Have you outgrown Square’s basic POS terminals? I listed options with advanced POS features that can easily integrate into your day-to-day business operations.
  • E-commerce features. While Square has impressive e-commerce features, it charges higher fees for online transactions. If you process over $5,000 a month and divide this amount into many micro-transactions, you’ll notice that Square’s free plan will end up costing you more than the best Square competitors on my list.

If you’re a new business and expect to collect at least $2,000/month in credit card payments, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is one of the most affordable Square alternatives. Its monthly rates start low for basic processing features, with the possibility to pay extra for additional services such as subscription tools and loyalty programs. This is ideal for small businesses that only need the essentials.

LMS provides lower in-person transaction fees than Square, but online fees are roughly the same. You can also benefit from LMS’s meet-or-beat guarantee1 if you’re currently a Square customer. Asking LMS for a quote can get you either better rates or a $200 gift card.

Depending on your plan, you can also get free high-quality Clover equipment. Alternatively, you can purchase your hardware, which will cost you more upfront but save you monthly rental, maintenance, and insurance fees.

Features and Benefits

  • Fast approval and onboarding. With a remarkable 98% approval rate (one of the highest in the industry), LMS often provides same-day approval and onboarding. This means you can start processing payments just as quickly as Square while also benefiting from a reduced risk of sudden account cancellations or unexpected freezing of funds.
  • Personalized accounts. You’ll get a dedicated agent from day one that can evaluate your unique needs to build a tailored plan for your type of business and industry.
  • Flexible business funding. LMS offers merchant cash advances and business loan funding. These flexible funding options don’t require you to set up collateral and won’t burden your business with strict payback deadlines. If your business receives a loan, you’ll pay it back through small commissions on future sales.
  • 24/7 highly responsive phone support. Unlike Square’s hard-to-reach phone support, LMS’s team typically responds in less than 2 minutes. On top of that, every time I called, the representatives provided personalized, informative answers.
Read our expert Leaders Merchant Services review for more details.

POS solutions
  • Free POS device
  • 3 Clover devices (Clover Station POS, Clover Flex, Clover Mini), Magtek Mini-MICR check reader, First Data FD150 and First Data FD150 Terminal & RP10 Pin Pad available to purchase
Accepted payment methods Credit and debit cards, ACH, digital wallets, bank transfers
Security PCI compliant, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~0.15% + $0
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

PAYARC’s membership plans come with competitive monthly fees and significantly lower transaction fees than Square, which is ideal for high-volume merchants processing $25,000–$50,000/month. On the other hand, its flat rate pricing is a fit for small businesses taking less than $7,000/month in credit card payments. The downside is that PAYARC isn’t transparent about its pricing, meaning you’ll have to contact support for more details.

PAYARC’s payment software will seamlessly integrate with your website or e-commerce platform. For domestic payments, you can use its proprietary payment gateway, which is among the lowest priced in the industry. PAYARC also gives you access to its versatile virtual terminal that offers your customers a selection of payment methods and allows you to track sales in real time.

PAYARC connects you with multiple international payment gateways as well. It also has a few third-party integrations for international commerce, including RS2 and TSYS. It’s hands-down the best Square alternative if you have global customers1.

Features and Benefits

  • Powerful dashboard. PAYARC’s dashboard allows you to manage sales, subscriptions, invoices, disputes, and more. You can also access reports and analytics to make data-backed decisions for your business through the dashboard.
  • PAYARC mobile app. You can use the app to accept payments from anywhere, including online. It also gives you access to your dashboard on the go.
  • Multiple POS options. Depending on your plan, you may receive a free PAX terminal. The Dejavoo Z8 terminal, Z6 pin pad, or Z1 mobile card reader are also available to purchase or lease. PAYARC can also integrate any existing equipment you own to save you money, provided it’s compatible with its solutions.
  • Fast payouts. PAYARC aims to provide access to your funds within 24-48 hours as standard. However, they also offer a same-day payout option for an additional fee.
Check out our detailed PAYARC review for a more in-depth analysis.

POS solutions
  • Free device with some plans
  • 3 Pax terminals (E500, E700, E800), one portable Pax E920, 2 Dejavoo terminals (Z6 and Z8), and one Dejavoo Z1 mobile POS available to purchase
Accepted payment methods Credit cards, debit cards, selected digital wallets (Apple Pay and Google Pay), ACH
Security Level 1 PCI-compliant, HIPAA-compliant with Rectangle Health integration, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, fraud monitoring and prevention
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 15¢ (in-person & online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $69.00
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3. PaymentCloud: Best Square Alternative for High-Risk Merchants1

Many merchants find out the hard way that Square doesn’t work with high-risk merchants – when their accounts are suddenly terminated. PaymentCloud is the best Square alternative for high-risk merchants1, offering solutions specifically designed for these industries at the most reasonable rates. Still, its fees are typically higher for low-risk merchants, meaning that if you aren’t high-risk, you’ll be better off with the other options on my list.

PaymentCloud provides valuable tools for both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses. You’ll receive free equipment for card-present transactions – but if you decide to end your contract, you’ll have to return the equipment. Its dedicated high-risk security solutions can easily integrate with e-commerce platforms and payment gateways to guard against chargebacks and fraud.

One of PaymentCloud’s most valuable integrations is Paysley, which helps you turn your phone into a powerful POS system to collect contactless payments from anywhere. It includes helpful features like custom payment links and QR codes. It also comes with industry-specific features like tipping for restaurants and donation pages for non-profit organizations.

Features and Benefits

  • Fast approvals. Once you fill out the application form, a PaymentCloud representative will contact you within one business day, or even sooner during business hours. If additional documentation is required, though, the vetting process could take a few weeks.
  • Free terminal as a welcome gift. Once approved, you’ll receive a free Payanywhere credit card reader. This 3-in-1 reader accepts EMV chip cards, contactless payments, and magstripe cards.
  • PCI compliance fee included. Your PCI compliance fee is included in your monthly fee. This is rare, especially among high-risk credit card processors.
  • Advanced security. PaymentCloud employs various advanced fraud prevention tools and chargeback reduction techniques to protect high-risk merchants. You can also merge your chargeback disputes log to your merchant account and CRM with just a click.
For more details, read our full PaymentCloud review.

POS solutions
  • Free Payanywhere credit card reader
  • A selection of POS hardware available to purchase
Accepted payment methods Credit and debit cards, ACH, digital wallets, MOTO, bank transfers, e-checks, cryptocurrency
Security Level 1 PCI-compliant, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention
Transaction fees on cheapest plan Around 2.1% + 15¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $14.00

Flagship Merchant Services will likely accept your application if you’re a new business without any credit history or struggle with bad credit. And you won’t have to undergo a weeks-long vetting process or provide a pile of documents – Flagship can set up your account in less than a day.

If you only need the basics, Flagship’s low fees will save you money. But if you need extra features, costs can quickly add up. That said, you can negotiate lower rates as a Square customer. Flagship will give you a $200 gift card if it can’t at least match your Square credit card processing costs.

This payment processor offers reliable in-person and online payment solutions for businesses of any type, including a wireless swiper that turns your mobile phone into a POS terminal. Thanks to the flexible monthly contracts with no early termination fees, you can try these solutions risk-free.

Features and Benefits

  • Same-day funding. If you can’t wait 48 hours, you can pay extra to access your funds the same day.
  • Free high-quality hardware. You get a Clover Mini or Verifone terminal as a welcome bonus. Clover devices are expensive, so you’ll save a lot on equipment costs while accessing a premium-quality device. Note that you might need to sign a contract to qualify for free equipment.
  • Powerful business reporting tool. iAccess Business Management Software will help you stay on top of every aspect of your business. In addition to your business’s health, you’ll also receive insights based on your area and industry.
  • Dedicated account manager. Your Flagship account manager is always a call away to solve any issues and concerns that you might have.
To learn more about Flagship, read our in-depth review.

POS Solutions
  • Free Verifone VX 520 or Clover Mini terminal
  • 4 Clover models (Clover Station, Mini, Go and Flex), and MobilePay by PaySafe mobile reader available to purchase
Accepted payment methods Credit and debit cards, bank transfers, digital wallets, and ACH
Security Level 1 PCI, GDPR, and CCPA compliant, end-to-end encryption, and tokenization
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

ProMerchant has two payment models: zero-cost processing and interchange plus fixed rate. You can benefit from significant savings with its zero-cost processing plan if you’re a retail or restaurant business. This plan allows you to pass the processing fees on to customers that pay with their credit cards. You’ll only have to pay a small monthly fee for your account.

You can also process payments via phone, mail, email, text, and fax. This feature is uncommon among payment processors, as most primarily focus on e-commerce transactions. You can manually key in these transactions using ProMerchant’s free Payments Hub Virtual terminal. Square also allows you to process payments over the phone, but its transaction fees are higher.

ProMerchant offers the major benefit of accepting payments without the risk of sudden account termination or frozen funds. Moreover, you can start receiving payments almost as quickly as you would with Square. ProMerchant welcomes merchants of all risk levels and typically approves accounts within 2–24 hours. It will immediately send your hardware via overnight shipping, allowing you to start taking credit card payments within 48–72 hours of approval.

Features and Benefits

  • Free equipment and a large POS selection. As a ProMerchant customer, you’ll get a free Payanywhere, Verifone, or Ingenico terminal. There are also over 50 available POS devices, including 3 Clover models with advanced features like employee management and inventory tracking.
  • High-risk accounts. ProMerchant services high-risk merchants from various non-traditional industries such as the adult industry, auctions, and firearms sales. There are also additional fraud mitigation tools to help high-risk businesses reduce chargebacks.
  • Next-day payouts as standard. While most processors charge extra for faster payouts, ProMerchant offers next-day funding as standard.
  • Top-rated customer support. ProMerchant’s customer support has many glowing reviews, and my experience with its support agents wasn’t different. Its phone and email support teams are available 24/7.
Read our expert ProMerchant review for more details.

POS solutions
  • Free Payanywhere, PAX A920, Ingenico Desk 3500, or Verifone VX520 terminal
  • Over 50 POS devices available to purchase, including 3 Clover devices (Clover Station, Mini, and Flex)
Accepted payment methods Debit and credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Visa Click to Pay, and ACH transfers
Security PCI-compliant, tokenization, end-to-end encryption, payer verification, advanced fraud detection and prevention.
Transaction fees on cheapest plan Custom
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

Stax charges a monthly subscription and the industry’s lowest flat per-transaction fee with 0% markups. If you’re processing over $8,000, Stax’s payment model can save you up to 40% compared to Square. But you’ll need at least 3 months of processing statements to qualify, making it unsuitable for new businesses. If you’re processing over $25,000/month, PAYARC offers bigger savings.

Stax is still an excellent choice for high-volume businesses, whether you operate online, have physical locations, or a combination of both. Square’s online transaction fees are higher than average, and it charges $29–$69/month for its software per location. Square’s additional services will probably cost you more than Stax’s all-inclusive monthly rate.

Stax might take longer than Square to approve your account, typically 24-48 hours. But once accepted, you can rest assured your credit card payment processing will run smoothly.

Features and Benefits

  • Excellent hardware selection. While Square offers only the magstripe reader for free, Stax lets you choose your free Dejavoo terminal, with options to process chip-and-pin, swiped, and contactless payments. Additionally, the Stax app allows you to turn any handheld device into a POS terminal and process payments on the go.
  • All-in-one sophisticated software. Stax’s software doesn’t cost extra, and you can use it on unlimited devices. You can also manage all aspects of your business from one dashboard, including your online reviews, which isn’t possible with Square.
  • E-commerce features. What sets Stax apart is its sophisticated merchant portal that provides more advanced inventory management and in-depth reporting, and analytics at no extra cost. Stax offers ample opportunity to maximize your profits with its low per-transaction fees for online transactions.
  • Recurring billing and invoicing. Both options allow you to invoice clients and establish recurring payments. However, Square’s high fees can become expensive over time. In contrast, Stax provides cost savings and enhanced payment management through its sophisticated Stax Dashboard.
Read our in-depth Stax review to learn more about its features.

POS solutions
  • Free Dejavoo terminal
  • 8 Dejavoo terminal models, 4 Clover devices (Clover Flex LTE or WI-FI, Mini LTE, Station Solo, Station Duo, and SwipeSimple B250 mobile reader available to purchase
Accepted payment methods Credit/debit cards, ACH, digital wallets, and bank transfers
Security Level 1 PCI-compliance, tokenization, multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, payer verification, advanced fraud detection and prevention
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $99.00

Select a Square Alternative That Ticks All the Boxes

I spent a month researching dozens of Square competitors, digging through genuine customer reviews, and comparing their features and prices against Square. The ones on my list provide better overall value than Square due to their lower per-transaction fees.

If you’re processing lower volume and have simple needs, you can get a better deal with Leader Merchant Services’ meet-or-beat guarantee1. You can obtain fast approval without the concern of unexpected account cancellations, a common occurrence with Square.

If you need support for international payments, PAYARC’s international payment gateways1 and third-party software integrations will help you reach global markets. Its membership-based pricing model, with significantly lower transaction fees than Square’s, can save you money in the long run (provided you process over $25,000/month).

If you’re in a risky industry, PaymentCloud provides custom solutions1 for high-risk merchants. You can rest assured your account won’t get terminated without explanation. PaymentCloud’s advanced security tools for high-risk merchants will help you keep chargebacks to a minimum, among other benefits.

Here’s a summary of all the best Square alternatives.
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Meet-or-beat guarantee Low-volume businesses, new businesses, or small businesses that just need the essentials $9.00 ~0.15% + $0
PAYARC Multiple global payment gateways and third-party integrations Businesses that have an international clientele $69.00 0% + 15¢ (in-person & online)
PaymentCloud Solutions specifically designed for high-risk industries High-risk merchants of any industry and size $14.00 Around 2.1% + 15¢
Flagship Merchant Services Same-day setup and low fees for basic features New businesses without credit history or businesses with bad credit that have simple needs $7.95 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
ProMerchant Zero-cost processing for retail and restaurants Restaurants, retail, and businesses selling over phone, mail, email and text $7.95 Custom
Stax Advanced all-in-one payment processing solutions Established businesses processing a high volume of transactions $99.00 0% + 10¢ (in-person)

FAQ

What is the best alternative to Square?

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) offers lower in-person transaction fees, a more sophisticated POS system, and a reliable service, making it the best Square alternative for small businesses processing at least $2,000/month. If you’re processing $8,000+/month, Stax has better pricing at higher volumes.

Is Square the cheapest credit card processor?

No, Square isn’t the cheapest credit card processor. PAYARC is the cheapest for high-volume businesses processing $25,000+/month, while Stax is affordable for those businesses processing $8,000+/month. If you’re already processing lower volumes at Square, enquire about the meet-or-beat guarantee for cheaper rates at Leaders Merchant Services.

Is Square still free?

Square’s POS has no monthly or setup fees associated with it. But its high transaction fees can leave you paying more for credit card processing at higher volumes. If you take in $8,000+/month in credit card payments, Stax can save you up to 40% compared to Square.

What is the best alternative to Square for retail businesses?

ProMerchant offers a zero-cost processing plan specifically designed for retail businesses. It allows you to pass the processing fees onto your customers – you only need to cover the small monthly fee. ProMerchant accepts businesses of all risk levels, meaning your account won’t get canceled unexpectedly, which is common with Square.

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