22.7.2021

Epos Now vs. Square

Written by Aine Hendron

epos now vs square

Advanced point of sale systems are closing the gap between market giants and small startup businesses. By harnessing the power of sales technology, both retail and hospitality businesses can completely revolutionise how they operate. 

Epos Now and Square are two leading POS system providers. These companies both offer hardware and software designed to help businesses run more efficiently, but which is best? Which is a better fit for your business? 

We compare Epos Now vs. Square to help you find the right system for your business.

Note: All product features, pricing, and other details are accurate as of July 2021.

Epos Now vs. Square: Background and Overview

Epos Now began in 2011 when CEO and founder Jacyn Heavens found a gap in the market for affordable, capable POS systems while working as a bar owner and manager. He started building software to make life easier for himself and business owners like him, believing that high-quality technology shouldn’t sacrifice your entire budget. Epos Now has since expanded into 71 countries worldwide, serving over 40,000 businesses.

Epos Now services overview:

  • The POS software runs on iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems
  • Compatible with a variety of devices, including tablets and computers
  • Hardware and software bundles available 
  • A cloud-based POS system with included offline mode
  • One software plan that includes the core POS features for retail and hospitality
  • Customers can choose from a range of third-party payment processors or Epos Now’s Payments
  • Connects with over 100 applications through its app store

Square, or Square Up Ltd., was launched by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey in 2009. The idea came to Jack when Jim was unable to accept credit cards in his business, and therefore couldn’t complete a $2,000 sale. Square has multiple breakaway companies, including Cash App. The company hosts 2 million customers across their different platforms and operate in 5 countries. 

Square services overview:

  • Compatible with iOS and Android only, not currently available on Windows
  • POS software is only available on portable devices and not on PC. POS software is available solely on dedicated Square terminals
  • Hardware and software bundles available 
  • Wide variety of app integrations available 
  • Hosts own merchant services and payment processing
  • A cloud-based POS system with offline mode

Epos Now vs. Square: Analysis

So, how do Epos Now and Square stack up against one another? Let’s review some core aspects of each system to find the best solution for your business.

The key factors we will cover include:

  • Connectivity
  • Pricing
  • Hardware
  • Operating system
  • Features
  • Payment processing

Connectivity

Square is a cloud-based system, meaning all data is stored on remote servers by default. It’s web-based, meaning the data recorded is accessible from anywhere on mobile. Square does not have a legacy system, meaning data is only saved online and not on the devices themselves.

Epos Now also operates via the cloud, but you can access the system through your browser or install the software on your device for local access. Like with Square, information can be accessed remotely and is securely backed up online. 

Both systems host ‘offline mode’. While using Square’s offline mode, merchants can accept swiped card payments, and they must be processed within 72 hours, or they will expire. Epos Now allows you to continue processing payments like usual even if there is a power outage, using contactless, EVM chip and pin and swiping and signing. However, the merchant must accept responsibility if the payment fails. 

Despite internet outages, all Epos Now devices will continue to operate through your local wireless network. You can still send orders to your kitchen, help customers with handheld devices, and more. Data will be stored locally as well, without requiring you to pay for a server. 

With both systems backed by the cloud, you can rest assured that your data will stay safe from disaster, theft, or corruption. Both providers allow merchants to check up on their business remotely by logging in to the POS from a supported internet-connected device.

Hardware

As we mentioned, both companies offer various POS devices. Let’s review the functionality of all these options. 

Epos Now Systems

  • iPad POS: An iPad stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer
  • Android Tablet POS: A tablet stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer
  • Pax A920: A 5” touchscreen Android terminal with built-in POS integration for WorldPay compatibility 
  • Epos Pocket: A handheld device for processing orders on the go and taking stock with a built-in camera/barcode scanner
  • Epos Now have additional equipment available to buy separately, such as barcode scanners, customer display poles, card readers, receipt printers, and order ticket printers. 

On top of these options, you can run Epos Now software on your existing POS hardware. The software is compatible with Apple, Windows, and Android devices.

If you ever switch away from Epos Now, your hardware may be compatible with the new software. You are not locked into using Epos Now.

Square Systems

  • Square Stand: A rotatable iPad stand with a card reader and dock
  • Square Terminal: A touch screen card reader with a built-in receipt printer
  • Square Reader for magstripe: A mini card reader that connects to Apple or Android devices to process payments
  • Square Stand Kit: Square Stand for iPad, Square Reader, Dock for Square Reader, cash drawer, receipt printer, and paper (iPad not included).

Since Square devices have built-in payment processing features, they can only run the Square software. If you want to switch away from Square software, you will need to buy new devices. 

Operating system

Epos Now systems run on Android, Apple, and Windows devices. What’s more, the software is easily accessible via Chrome and Safari web browsers. Business owners can access their back office simply by logging in to the Epos Now website. 

Business owners who want to use their existing devices and minimize expenses will enjoy this compatibility. They can use their preferred operating system instead of learning to use a new platform altogether.

Square operates on iOS and some Android systems only, which can increase initial expenses and require training if employees have never used the operating system. However, the stands and hardware bundles are only suited for their proprietary devices and some Apple iPads. iPads can be purchased from Square, or certain existing devices can be used.

Features

Since both Epos Now and Square aim to help retail and hospitality businesses, the companies provide similar features. 

Here’s a comparison of some popular POS systems that Epos Now and Square have in common. 

Feature

Epos Now 

Square POS

Square For Restaurant Free

Square for Restaurant Plus

Remote menu management

 

Remote device management

 

Menu category reports

   

Coursing

   

Floorplan customisation

   

Table Colors Based on Time

   

Contactless tableside ordering

     

Order manager

Kitchen performance reports

 

Shift reports

   

24/7 support

 

Real-time order updates

 

Automatic inventory updates

 

 

As mentioned earlier, Epos Now provides these features through its monthly software subscription. You only need the basic software plan to manage the core aspects of your retail store or restaurant. Epos Now offers a range of additional features through third parties.

Square requires you to pay for a higher-level software plan to access many of its advertised features. While their programs are quite powerful, they also come at an additional cost. For a small to medium-sized business, accessing these features can be a challenge. However, Square’s free software bundle does cover some very useful day-to-day features. 

Payment Processing

Square POS is not compatible with third-party payment processors. They offer their own merchant services for a fixed fee per transaction. 

Insert, contactless, or swipe: 1.75% per payment

POS app manually keyed-in cards and invoices: 2.5% per payment

Online and e-commerce API: 1.9% for European cards /2.9% for non-European cards

Epos Now offers its own merchant services, Epos Now Payments, at a fixed rate of 1.79% per transaction. 

Epos Now also partners with several payment processors across the world. Depending on your location, you can choose from:

  • EVO Payments
  • WorldPay
  • International Bancard
  • Paymentsense
  • Retail Merchant Services
  • Takepayments
  • Tyro
  • Westpac

From this list, you can negotiate rates and contract lengths to find the ideal integrated payment option. Comparison shopping like this is vital since rates can vary wildly. Some processing companies charge flat percentages, while others have variable rates that depend on which credit card brand was used and what service you offer. 

With Epos Now’s large network of payment partners, you can find the pricing structure that best matches your business model. In some cases, you can even bring your existing payment processing company.

Pricing

Starting with hardware, both companies offer various tools, so we will compare the most similar options: The Epos Now Complete Solution and Square Register Kit. 

Epos Now Complete Solution

Upfront Cost: £399

Price Includes:

  • Epos Now Pro-C15W terminal, including water-resistant touch screen and solid-state drive
  • Epos Now Retail or Hospitality Software
  • 80mm Thermal Epos Now GX Receipt Printer
  • All-metal cash drawer
  • Installation, configuration, and training

Square Register Kit

Upfront Cost: £1,009.00 + VAT

Price includes:

  • Square Register
  • Square Register Tactile PIN Guide
  • USB Cash Drawer
  • USB Receipt Printer
  • Receipt Printer Paper (25 rolls)

The most notable difference between these two bundles is undoubtedly the price. However, the Square register does come with a two-part terminal, one for merchants and one for customers. On the customer terminal, shoppers pay using a card directly from the till. Essentially, it’s a built-in card reader. The Tactile PIN Guide is an accessibility accessory for visually impaired users who don’t use touch screen surfaces. 

It should also be noted that Square does not allow third-party processing. Therefore any payments sent via the register terminal, or any Square terminal for that matter, will be processed by Square themselves. Square also includes a basic POS system in this bundle, though it is not labelled as a central feature. 

Epos Now’s Complete Solution doesn’t include a card terminal. However, the company offers fully compatible portable and static card readers that can be purchased separately.

Epos Now also includes industry-specific software as part of the bundle. This includes access to features such as custom floorplans, inventory management, and business reporting. For an additional fee, payment processing and merchant services can be added on. Epos Now also provides the option for third-party processing and host their own merchant services too.

Both providers charge payment processing fees per transaction, rather than a fixed rate. When it comes to comparing software prices, Square and Epos Now offer different pricing plans and features. This makes comparing the monthly fees at face value more difficult.

Epos Now Software Plans

Monthly Software: £25/month

Additional integrations and add ons are available for an extra cost, including prioritised support and an extended warranty for hardware.

Square Software Plans

Free Software: £0/month

Plus Software: $60/month per location.

Premium: Custom pricing

As mentioned, Square’s free software is only available alongside their hardware bundles. 

Which to choose?

At the end of the day, choosing between Epos Now and Square depends on your business. You want to think about what features you need, your payment needs, and the type of equipment you will use. 

Square has some free features that would appeal to many small businesses that don’t require advanced payment services. The free features are decent, however, they are quite limited. The Square Pro bundle offers many powerful services and integrations, but they are pre-selected. 

The other large up-front cost with Square is hardware. Being limited to Square or Apple devices can be extremely costly. Although, the company’s hardware systems are extremely capable, and the inclusion of some free POS features is enticing. 

Therefore, Square may still be worth the cost for some smaller companies, but larger companies will likely have to upgrade their package in order to meet the demands of business, requiring them to pay more. Adding to this, Square hardware is unusable without the branded software.

Epos Now, on the other hand, gives you very similar features and functionality but at a fixed monthly price. The company also partners with industry leaders, so you get the best programs to help with services like marketing, loyalty, accounting. There is much more flexibility with Epos Now’s software, in terms of both payment processing options and integrations. With over 100 apps available, the software you select is buildable and scalable to your business’s exact needs. 

Even better, you can run the POS software on almost any device, so you may be able to keep your existing hardware. And if you want a new device, Epos Now terminals cost less than an iPad and many other Apple products. Since Epos Now doesn’t require you to use proprietary devices, you don’t have to worry about being stuck with outdated hardware if you switch providers. 

Overall, you get complete control over your POS experience with Epos Now. You can choose what equipment you will use, decide how you want to process payments, and get access to essential features by default.

Contact Epos Now today for a free trial

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