iZettle vs Square: which is best for small businesses?
Although both Zettle by PayPal (formerly iZettle) and Square offer the same product, you’ll find that there are differences in the details. We uncover them in this iZettle vs Square write-up
Over the last decade, cash transactions have dramatically declined. As more people choose to pay by card, more card payment companies have cropped up to cash in.
Founded in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Square and iZettle pioneered the alternative card payment movement, and have since remained at the forefront of the payments industry.
On the face of it, both iZettle (now rebranded to Zettle by PayPal) and Square offer the same thing – a card reader, point of sale software, and if required, point of sale equipment. And while they charge businesses the same rate to process card payments (1.75%), there are slight differences between each offering that may or may not make a difference when you decide on which one to invest in.
In this iZettle vs Square write-up, we’ll take a look at what these differences are, and discover which one serves small businesses best.
|Card reader cost|
(deposits instantly for an additional 1%)
There’s no doubt that the lack of keypad makes Square’s card reader look modern and stylish, but it does mean that processing chip and pin payments is a little less conventional.
Rather than keying in their pin number on the card reader device itself, customers will need to type their pin into the device hosting Square’s point of sale software – in other words, your mobile phone or tablet. This unconventional way of doing things is completely PCI compliant, so there’s no need to worry about security; just bear in mind that it’ll be a new experience for your customers.
The iZettle card reader is just as neat, and it certainly offers more when it comes to ergonomics. For example, there are little rubber sections on the back which make it less likely to slip off surfaces, and the green tick button makes the whole payment taking process feel seamless.
Another difference between the two card readers is the iZettle card reader is compatible with other point of sale software. For example, if you decide that your small business has outgrown iZettle’s software, you could integrate it with the likes of Lightspeed or Vend, which offer more sophisticated paid plans to their customers.
Square software vs iZettle software comparison
|Paid plans available|
Both Square and iZettle offer free feature-rich, yet intuitive to use software packages, giving small businesses all the tools they need to start taking payments. But as you can see from the table, there are some slight differences.
While both providers give businesses the means to process payments, it’s only Square’s free plan that offers payment management features, like splitting bills. This, in addition to its integrations – from customer relationship management to appointment booking software – means Square is best suited to businesses that are looking for a more sophisticated setup.
That’s not to say that iZettle’s software isn’t the best option for other businesses. In fact, it’s iZettle’s simplicity that attracts a lot of small business owners to the payment provider in the first place.
Fuss-free, iZettle’s system is perfect for small retail businesses and counter service hospitality businesses. And with the option to activate its repeat payment option, it’s not a bad choice for buskers and nightclub entry booths, either.
iZettle vs Square: Paid plans
While both providers offer paid plans, it’s worth pointing out two things. One: the plans are solely for hospitality businesses, and two: they’re only compatible with an iPad Air 2 or a later model.
Square charges small business owners £69/month (unlimited iPads) for its paid software (Square for Restaurants), while iZettle charges £29/month per iPad for iZettle Food and Drink. Both providers charge businesses 1.75% of every transaction made, however lower fees can be negotiated if your business takes over a certain amount per month (for iZettle Food and Drink it's £10,000/month).
So, what do you get for your money?
iZettle and Square: Paid plans feature comparisons
|Square for Restaurants||iZettle Food and Drink|
|Delivery app integration||Yes||Yes|
|Accounting software integration||Yes||Yes|
|Customer relationship management integration||Yes||No|
|Kitchen display screen||No||No|
Square for Restaurants is more expensive than iZettle Food and Drink as it gives restaurant owners more autonomy when it comes to building a POS system that delivers on additional business services such as customer relationship and staff management.
While iZettle does offer some of these features, Square's offerings are more sophisticated but are additional costs through third party providers, rather than being included in the base package price.
Both providers use the same third party supplier for their POS accessories, which include printers, kitchen printers, cash drawers, and barcode scanners. Complete hardware kits are available for small businesses that aren’t sure on what equipment they may need.
That said, Square one ups iZettle with a few branded products of its own – these include the Square Stand, Square Hub, and Square Terminal. Having these products means Square gives its customers more flexibility when it comes to choosing how their point of sale setup will work.
Square customers have the option to combine the Square card reader with accessories from third party providers, or they can opt for the Square Terminal, which is an all-in-one device that’s far cheaper than investing in separate hardware.
The Square Terminal isn’t without its limitations, though. It doesn’t offer small businesses the full version of Square’s software, and it only works alongside third party products with the addition of the Square Hub.
Some providers offer better online setups than others, but thankfully, both iZettle and Square have some great options. So which one do you choose?
First of all, you need to ask yourself what you want from your online store. If it’s the absolute basics – and you don’t mind having Square’s name tagged alongside yours – then Square does offer a free ecommerce option.
Even Square’s premium options are cheap – you can have a domain name all to yourself for £9/month, while the maximum you’ll ever pay for your ecommerce store is £54/month. The highest rate includes the option to add customer reviews and the option to send abandoned cart reminders, plus a lower transaction fee of 2.25%.
iZettle charges its customers a set fee of £29/month for its ecommerce store. For that, you get everything Square offers in its top package, minus the lower transaction fee.
Just bear in mind that neither Square nor iZettle are website builders in their own right. This means you won’t get the search engine optimisation or marketing assistance that official website builders like Wix, WooCommerce, and Shopify can offer.
So what if you’d rather use a third party to set up your ecommerce store? The good news is, both Square and iZettle can integrate with third party providers. However, this is where iZettle falls a little short. Currently, iZettle only integrates with Shopify, whereas Square integrates with 11 ecommerce website builders.
|Paid software plan|
|Card present fees|
|Card not present fees|
|Hospitality basic hardware kit|
|Retail basic hardware kit|
iZettle’s equipment does come out a little more expensive than Square’s, which could be enough to sway some people. But, as always, there’s a little more to it.
When you invest in a point of sale system, you need to think about the long term as well as the short term. So while you may pay a little more for iZettle’s equipment initially, long term, you’re looking at potentially lower processing fees. You’re also giving yourself the option to change software providers without a complete system overhaul.
What’s also worth bearing in mind is iZettle’s recent merger with PayPal. This merger is great news for any business owner who wants to set up an online store to supplement bricks and mortar sales. This is because the merger gives customers the option to pay with PayPal, meaning you benefit from a 2% transaction fee with every PayPal purchase, rather than 2.5%.
While Square’s equipment may be cheaper than iZettle’s equipment, Square’s integrations aren’t cheap. Once you add on the cost of a customer relationship management subscription, delivery app integration, and other additions you may want to look into, you’re quickly adding to your monthly total cost.
That said, Square’s integrations are some of the biggest reasons why businesses choose Square over iZettle. And with behind the scenes benefits including zero chargeback fees and the option to turn on instant bank deposits (for an additional 1%), you can see why businesses have a hard time choosing between the two providers.
iZettle and Square payment systems are equally as easy to set up. All you need to do is order your point of sale products from their online stores, download the app, and follow the instructions.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll be asked to fill in some basic information about your business. You’ll also be asked to provide your business bank details for payments.
Both Square and iZettle will require you to have a business bank account, or a bank account in the name of the company director. They’ll also run a credit check. If you or your business is deemed high risk – if you operate in an industry with a high rate of expensive refunds, for example – then they may not accept you.
Pairing your equipment
Once you’re ready to go, you’ll be able to pair your equipment. Pairing either card reader with its respective app is really intuitive. As long as you follow the simple directions on the app, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be up and running within moments of receiving your card reader in the post.
What about if you have additional point of sale equipment? Because both systems communicate via Bluetooth, connecting receipt printers is simple too. For both iZettle and Square, simply head into the settings tab of your app and select the piece of equipment you’d like to connect.
The compatible cash drawers are slightly different, because they’re wired up to the receipt printer. Once the receipt printer is triggered into action, it’ll automatically communicate with the cash drawer to open it.
Thankfully, both iZettle and Square are at the top of their games when it comes to security.
While some people may have reservations about Square’s pin entry (entering into a mobile phone or tablet, rather than into the card reader itself), it’s gone a long way to reassure people that its payment system is safe. Square's payment system adheres to PCI Compliance Level 1 – the strictest security standards out there – and all its hardwear has been installed with end to end encryption.
iZettle’s payment system is super-secure too. It’s PCI DSS compliant, and it’s been approved by Europay, Mastercard, and Visa. Add to that end to end encryption, and a self-destructing tamper-proof card reader, and you know your customers’ card details are going to be kept safe.
In a game of Square vs iZettle, there’s no clear winner. The payment provider you choose will be based heavily on what you think your business’ biggest priorities are.
Both are on an equal footing when it comes to the payment services they offer – just remember that Square’s card reader is a little less conventional when it comes to inputting pin numbers.
And while Square gives businesses true scope to expand, thanks to its third party integrations, iZettle gives businesses the flexibility to switch up their software when they feel they’ve outgrown iZettle’s offering.
Whichever one you choose, you can be confident that you’ve invested in a secure payments system that comes with full customer support and lots of great customer credentials.