30.7.2021

Top 5 Square Alternatives & Competitors Review

Written by Aine Hendron

Square Alternatives 1 v4

Square provides advanced point of sale systems for small to mid-sized restaurant and retail businesses. Their hardware and software are designed to help companies run more efficiently, with a focus on on-the-go payments via portable Square terminals. 

Square is known for their simple pricing plans, mobile transactions, and employee ease of use [1]. There are also some drawbacks to using Square, such as restricted choice of paid features. 

We uncover the top 5 Square alternatives to help you decide which point of sale (POS) system is best for your business.

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

#1: Epos Now

Main advantages over competitors: better pricing and integration versatility

Functionality

Epos Now are market leaders in POS software and hardware. Like Square, Epos Now have split their software into two main categories. Square offers Retail POS and Restaurant POS, while Epos Now provides POS for the Hospitality and Retail sectors. 

One benefit of Epos Now is that the hospitality industry software can be divided into sectors, with dedicated software modules for restaurants, pubs and bars, takeaways, and hotels. The same goes for retail, with separate technology available for clothing shops, electronics stores, convenience stores, and more.

Both Square and Epos Now are hailed for their user-friendliness and simplicity in accepting payments. One great feature that both platforms offer is blended rates on card processing. Since most card providers charge different rates per transaction, Epos Now and Square offer one fixed median rate for all payments. Epos Now offers a wider variety of mobile payment providers, however, such as AliPay and WePay. They also allow third-party processing as well as their own merchant services, Epos Now Payments, whereas Square only allows their own payment processor. 

Hardware

Hardware-wise, Square POS is available on Android, Apple and Square’s own devices. Epos Now’s software is available on Apple, Android, Windows, PC and their own devices, too. A clear advantage of Epos Now is that their hardware isn’t locked to their software, meaning if you wanted to take your Epos Now Terminal or Epos Pocket (a tablet) and switch to a different POS provider, you can. 

Both Epos Now and Square offer bundles on their hardware and software, with Square including some POS features for free on hardware-only purchases. However, since Square hardware is only compatible with Square software, purchasing their software is often a prerequisite. 

Software

Square’s free software is quite limited, and most merchants who run a busy or growing business are required to upgrade to a larger, paid software bundle if they want to access more features. 

Vital inventory management features such as bulk intake, inventory history and counting are missing from Square’s free software package, and only available with Square for Retail Plus, which starts at £49/month. Epos Now offers these same services at a much lower starting price of just £25/month. They also offer stock checks across various locations, and stock transfer for no additional cost, whereas these are paid extras with Square. 

A key element in all point of sale systems is the reporting feature. Square offers a good range of reports through the Retail Plus software, including sales reports, profit margin reports, cost of goods sold, and vendor sales. 

Epos Now offers these reports too, as well as employee sales and entry reports, time-comparison reports, and item-specific performance reports. These are incredibly useful for spotting sales trends and identifying drains in your resources. Thanks to the loyalty app integrations available at Epos Now, these insights are doubly useful for helping to create targeted sales and discounts for customers, based on their buying history and behaviour.

The integrations available at Epos Now are what truly sets them apart from Square. There are 100s of third-party integrations available for the purpose of giving merchants ultimate control over their POS experience. Epos Now believes that if a business works well with a particular software, then the POS should be able to support it, allowing merchants to sync their data and access everything they need in one place.

Epos Now’s flexibility allows merchants to only pay for the services and integrations that they want and need. While it’s true that Square’s tiered payment plans provide access to a solid variety of services, they are pre-selected, meaning you might be paying for something that you didn’t pick, and don’t need.

Read this resource for a more in-depth review of Epos Now vs Square.

#2: Toast

Why pick Toast: expert software for food and restaurant industry businesses

Why pick Square: offers solutions for retailers

If you’re in the restaurant business, you’ve almost certainly heard of Toast when searching for a POS system. Some features Toast has ahead of Square include food delivery management, and a dedicated takeout & delivery app [2]. However, these are optional add-ons that are part of Toast’s Essentials package, which starts at £165/month. 

Square offers POS for a variety of businesses, so some of their features are slightly more versatile since they are typically seen in retail environments. For example, Square can process refunds by the item, refunds by specific amounts, and send digital/email receipts, which Toast does not currently offer. 

Connectivity-wise, Toast and Square are neck and neck. Like Epos Now, both systems offer offline mode, which let’s merchants continue taking payments without the internet. They are both also cloud POS systems, meaning data is securely saved online, and business owners can check in on their business remotely.

#3: Tevalis

Why pick Tevalis: keen focus on profit and expansion potential

Why pick Square: better for small and mid-sized businesses

Tevalis are market leaders within enterprise and large-scale business POS technology. They cater exclusively to hospitality businesses. For the sake of fair comparison, we’ll compare Tevalis’ Restaurant POS to Square’s Restaurant POS. 

Tevalis’ features are very focused on growth. Their reporting is synced with their business suite add-on for an additional price. Here, managers can read reports on daily profit vs revenue, revenue vs visits, best sellers by quantity, and even top sites by revenue since there is a focus on omnichannel selling. 

However, Square has more of a focus on customers, which many businesses will prefer. Tevalis offers incredibly advanced services that are undoubtedly incredibly useful for businesses aiming for large-scale growth, and are more business-oriented than people-oriented. 

#4: Clover

Why pick Clover: more affordable hardware

Why pick Square: better hardware flexibility 

People often draw comparisons between Clover and Square since they both offer terminals with a main touchscreen and a user-facing screen. They have similar designs and have many impressive features for optimal user experience. 

Clover and Square also have their own dedicated payment terminals that accept all major credit/debit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay. Square has a one-up on Clover as they offer Samsung Pay, which Clover does not currently support. Square also sells a magstripe reader which connects to Apple devices and Square terminals, which is different from all others on the market. 

Since Clover software is only compatible with Clover devices, the pricing plan is related to the hardware you select. There’s the Register Lite and Register Plans, which respectively cost $9.95/month and $39.95/month. Alternatively, for restaurants, there’s the Table Service Restaurant for $69.95/month. So, pricing is very similar to Square, and you have the option of choosing between retail or restaurant, just like with Square.

A great advantage of Clover is that they offer employee-focused features, such as customisable tip screens and performance measuring tools. Clover also allows managers to set varying levels of permissions and access for different employees, which is extremely useful for a small business or a business with high employee turnover.

You may also want to read Epos Now vs Clover.

#5: Lightspeed

Why pick Lightspeed: advanced CRM features

Why pick Square: much better hardware line 

Interestingly, and to Square’s advantage, Lightspeed doesn’t offer their own till. Instead, they offer integration with Apple products, the Apple Mac PC or iPad. They do note on their website that you can mix and match different hardware brands if they are compatible with their EPOS software [3], so it’s possible to use your existing devices instead of paying for nominated hardware. 

A nice feature that Lightspeed offers is the ability to customise the colour palette of your POS to show off your business’ branding. While Square doesn't include this option, their product line is a lot more diverse than Lightspeed’s. 

Lightspeed’s customer relationship management (CRM) services are very impressive. With the Lightspeed POS, you can receive an estimate of a customer’s lifetime value based on purchase history, and make relevant purchasing recommendations based on customer shopping behaviour. Another great CRM tool is the customer accounts, which lets merchants create customer profiles and identify customer types.

You may also want to read Epos Now vs Lightspeed.

Which POS system is best for your business?

At the end of the day, choosing a POS system will depend on the needs of your business and customers. You want to think about what features you need, your payment needs, and the type of equipment you will use. Price, accessibility, and integrations are also extremely important factors to consider.

If you’d like to learn more about Epos Now’s multi-award-winning software, get in touch with our sales team today for a consultation. 

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