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Square vs Shopify: Which is Better for Business in 2024?

Square vs Shopify: Which is Better for Business in 2024?

Key takeaways

  • Shopify and Square are two of the most popular point-of-sale (POS) system providers and ecommerce store platforms.
  • Square is best for businesses that primarily sell in-store and may need a simple online store.
  • Shopify is best for businesses that focus on ecommerce sales and may also need in-store payment processing.

Businesses that sell in-store and online need a reliable multichannel POS system and a good online site builder that is seamlessly integrated. Square and Shopify are two of the top options for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and online sellers looking for a reliable platform for their ecommerce and POS needs.

When comparing Square vs Shopify, consider their key differences while keeping in mind your business’s specific needs. 

Square vs Shopify: Key differences

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square logo. shopify logo.
Monthly fee Starts at $0 Starts at $5
Payment processing • Flat rate
• Square Payments only
• Depends on payment processor and Shopify plan
• Shopify Payments for POS; also comp. with third-party processors
Online store Basic website builder with limited customization included in free plan Simple online store included in the lowest plan
Hardware options • Free magstripe reader
• Paid devices start at $49
• Tap to Pay on iPhone and Android
• No free device
• Prices start at $49
• Tap to Pay on iPhone
Customer support • Mon to Fri phone support
• 24/7 automated chat support
• Seller community
• Resource librar
• 24/7 phone support
• Community forum
• Resource library
Visit Square Visit Shopify

Square: Best for in-person sales


Pros

  • Basic plan requires no initial upfront costs
  • Free online store and POS software
  • Free card reader

Cons

  • Limited customer support hours
  • Shipping tools are for higher plans only
  • Only works with Square Payments as its payment processor
Square logo.

Our Rating: 4.03/5

Square offers an all-in-one POS system tailored for startups, independent sellers, and small businesses. It is popular for its user-friendly interface, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility. With its range of plans and POS devices, Square provides flexibility to businesses. Its lowest-tier plan requires no initial investment, making it easy for businesses to begin accepting payments hassle-free.

Its free basic plan comes with a simple online website ideal for people just starting their ecommerce business or for brick-and-mortar merchants looking to extend their business into online selling. Square also offers solutions to accommodate the specific needs of restaurants and appointment-based businesses.

Read more: Restaurant POS systems

Square handles its payment processing through Square Payments, and businesses cannot use third-party processors.

  • Free POS software and website builder: The Square POS software and website builder are free to use even for Square’s lowest plan, which comes with zero monthly fees.
  • Online ordering page: Square Online allows businesses to quickly create a simple page that allows customers to place orders online for shipping or pickup.
  • Wide range of readers and terminals: Square’s POS devices are designed to cater to startups and small businesses, while options for growing businesses are also available. The magstripe reader comes free upon signing up, and Square’s Tap to Pay on iPhone and Android allows businesses to accept contactless payments using a compatible mobile phone.
  • Management tools: Square offers a simple inventory management tool that syncs your inventory across your sales channels. Like Shopify, it comes with reporting, analytics, and team management tools.

Pricing: 4.69/5

Hardware: 4/5

Features: 3.5/5

Support and reliability: 3.13/5

User experience: 4.38/5User scores: 4.5/5

Shopify: Best for ecommerce sales


Pros

  • Customizable website with or without coding
  • Wide range of apps on marketplace to extend online store and POS functionality
  • Local shipping options even with the lowest plan

Cons

  • Functionalities like shipping calculator and low-stock alerts only on higher plans
  • No free plan
  • Additional transaction fees with third-party processor
Shopify logo.

Our Rating: 4.06/5

Shopify is an ecommerce platform and POS system ideal for online businesses and multichannel sales. It offers customizable website templates that let business owners create their online store even without any coding knowledge while providing more tech-savvy entrepreneurs the flexibility to build their websites from scratch.

It also provides many robust ecommerce business tools such as app integrations, shipping tools, analytics and reporting, and built-in marketing tools. Other management tools are also included, such as those for product management, inventory management, order and fulfillment management, and team management.

Read more: POS data

Shopify can handle its own payment processing through Shopify Payments, but it allows third-party payment processors with add-on transaction fees on the ecommerce platform

  • Robust ecommerce tools: Shopify offers a comprehensive suite of ecommerce tools that allow businesses to create and manage their online stores with ease. It provides everything a business needs, from customizable website themes to secure payment gateways, to establish a professional and engaging online presence. 
  • Automated sales tax: Tax compliance is easier for businesses because Shopify provides an automated sales tax calculation feature. It automatically calculates and applies sales tax rates based on location, making it more convenient for businesses to streamline their tax processes and ensure compliance with local regulations.
  • Shipping options and discounts: Shopify makes it easy to manage shipping rates and options even with its lowest-priced plan. From setting up flat-rate shipping to offering free shipping promotions, Shopify provides flexible shipping solutions to meet varying business needs and customer expectations.
  • One-click checkout option: Shopify offers a one-click checkout option through Shop Pay. This makes checkout easier and more effortless for customers, allowing businesses to enjoy higher conversion rates and sales.
  • Extensive app marketplace: Whatever functionality you want to add to your online site, there is likely an app in Shopify’s Marketplace for it. From marketing tools to inventory management solutions, Shopify’s app ecosystem allows businesses to expand and customize their online stores according to their unique requirements.
  • Management tools: Shopify provides comprehensive tools to manage every aspect of your ecommerce business effectively, from inventory management and order tracking to customer engagement and analytics.

Pricing: 3.44/5

Hardware: 4/5

Features: 4.25/5

Support and reliability: 4.38/5

User experience: 3.75/5User scores: 4.57/5

Square vs Shopify: A detailed comparison

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square logo. shopify logo.
Ecommerce monthly fees $0–$79 $5–$89
POS monthly fees $0 • Depends on payment processor and Shopify plan
• Shopify Payments for POS; also comp. with third-party processors
Transaction fees • Card-present: 2.6% + 10 cents
• Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
• Keyed-in: 3.5% + 15 cents
• Invoices: 3.3% + 30 cents
2.4% to 2.9% + 30 cents
(+ 0.6% to 2% if using a third-party payment processor)
Hardware options • Free magstripe reader
• Paid devices start at $49
• Standalone terminal costs $299 or $37 in 12 months
• Tap to Pay on iPhone and Android
• No free device
• Prices start at $49
• Standalone terminal costs $299
• Tap to Pay on iPhone
Payment processing Square Payments only Shopify Payments or third-party payment processor
Key features • No chargeback fees
• Industry-specific POS
• Online ordering and online booking sites
• 8,000+ integrations
• Cryptocurrency payments
• Highly customizable online store
Customer support • Mon to Fri phone support
• 24/7 automated chat support
• Seller community
• Resource library
• 24/7 phone support
• Community forum
• Resource library
Visit Square Visit Shopify

Pricing

The main difference between Square and Shopify POS when it comes to pricing is that Square offers a free plan, while Shopify does not. Shopify’s lowest plan requires a monthly fee, unlike Square’s basic free plan, which allows you to start your online store and start accepting payments immediately.

Both Shopify and Square offer discounted processing fees for high-volume sellers, and contracts are month-to-month. For payment processing, their transaction fees are very similar, with some small differences across plans. The payment processing fees of Shopify’s Basic plan match Square’s Free plan. The two plans have the same online and in-person processing fees, but Square will come out cheaper with its $0 monthly fee compared to Shopify Basic’s $39 monthly fee.

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Square
Plan Free Plus Premium
Ecommerce monthly fee $0 $29 $79
POS monthly fee $0 $0 $0
Online processing fee 2.9% + 30 cents 2.9% + 30 cents 2.9% + 30 cents
In-person processing fee 2.6% + 10 cents 2.6% + 10 cents 2.6% + 10 cents
Keyed-in processing fee 3.5% + 15 cents 3.5% + 15 cents 3.5% + 15 cents

Unlike Square, which is locked in with Square Payments as its payment processor, Shopify allows the use of third-party payment processors instead of its built-in processor Shopify Payments. However, using a third-party payment processor will incur add-on transaction fees ranging from 0.6% to 5%, depending on the plan.

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Shopify
Plan POS Plans* Ecommerce Plans**
Starter
(POS Lite)
Retail
(POS Pro)
Basic Shopify Advanced
Monthly fee $5 $89 $39 $105 $399
Online processing fee 5% + 30 cents 2.9% + 30 cents 2.9% + 30 cents 2.7% + 30 cents 2.5% + 30 cents
In-person processing fee 5% 2.6% + 10 cents 2.6% + 10 cents 2.5% + 10 cents 2.4% + 10 cents
Add-on fees for 3rd-party processor 5% 2% 2% 1% 0.6%

*POS plans come with free use of limited online store
**Ecommerce plans come with free use of POS lite 

Hardware

When it comes to POS hardware devices, Square is also slightly ahead of Shopify. Square comes with a free magstripe reader and accepts Tap to Pay for both Android and iPhone. Businesses can immediately start accepting payments without paying for any POS device.

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Although Shopify does not provide a free device, it accepts Tap to Pay for iPhone. With a compatible iPhone device, Shopify users can immediately start accepting payments by using their iPhones as card readers.

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Tap & Chip Card Reader POS Go Countertop Kit
Tap & Chip Card Reader. POS Go. Countertop Kit.
$49 $299 $459

Read more: Best POS Hardware for Business

Features

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When comparing Shopify and Square’s features, both platforms offer easy-to-use solutions for online store capabilities. Shopify shines with its full-featured online store functionality, available from its Basic plan and up, allowing businesses to establish a professional and customizable online presence with ease. 

In contrast, Square Online is free with limited features and requires upgrading to a Plus plan for full online store functionality. This may present a limitation for businesses on lower-tier plans but may be useful for starting businesses that are still just finding their footing with their online business. Additionally, Shopify provides the flexibility of using a custom domain across all plans, offering businesses greater branding opportunities compared to Square’s restriction to higher-tier plans.

In terms of shipping features and tax calculation, Shopify emerges as the superior option. Shopify offers excellent shipping capabilities and automatic tax calculation based on location, streamlining processes. Conversely, Square’s shipping features are decent, but its manual tax calculation may pose challenges for businesses dealing with multiple tax jurisdictions. Shopify also offers higher shipping discounts.

Moreover, Shopify boasts extensive inventory management tools, empowering businesses to efficiently track and manage their stock levels across all plans, whereas Square’s inventory management is only available for its Plus plans and above. Overall, while both platforms offer valuable features for businesses, those who mainly sell online will find Shopify to be a more comprehensive and versatile solution.

Customer support and user reviews

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square logo. shopify logo.
Customer support • Mon to Fri phone support
• 24/7 automated chat support
• Seller community
• Resource library
• 24/7 phone support
• Community forum
• Resource library
User reviews* 4.6 4.5

*Averaged from third-party sites such as G2, Capterra, and SoftwareAdvice

Both Shopify and Square offer excellent support resources and receive positive feedback from users. Square provides phone support from Monday to Friday, along with an automated chat support system available 24/7. Additionally, Square has a seller community and resource library, offering users opportunities to connect with peers and access helpful resources for optimizing their experience. 

For those who prefer to have access to live help anytime, Shopify offers 24/7 phone support, a community forum, and a resource library, providing users with multiple channels to seek assistance and engage with the platform’s community.

When it comes to user reviews on platforms like Capterra, G2, and SoftwareAdvice, both Shopify and Square receive high ratings, reflecting their overall satisfaction among users. While Square’s ratings consistently hover around the 4.6 out of 5 range across these platforms, Shopify also maintains strong ratings, typically ranging from 4.4 to 4.6 out of 5. 

These positive reviews highlight the effectiveness of both platforms in meeting users’ needs and delivering value through their respective features, customer support, and overall user experience. 

Ultimately, businesses considering Shopify or Square can feel confident in their choice, knowing that both platforms have garnered positive feedback and offer reliable support resources to assist users along their ecommerce journey.

Shopify vs Square: Which is right for your business?

When deciding between Shopify and Square for your business, consider your primary sales channels and the level of emphasis on ecommerce. Square is an excellent choice for businesses that primarily operate in-store and require a simple online store as an additional sales channel. With its user-friendly interface and straightforward pricing, Square offers seamless payment processing solutions that cater to brick-and-mortar establishments. 

However, for businesses that prioritize ecommerce sales and may also require in-store payment processing capabilities, Shopify emerges as the preferred option. Shopify’s robust ecommerce tools, an extensive app marketplace, and advanced features make it the ideal platform for businesses looking to establish and grow their online presence effectively. 

Whether you’re a retail store looking to expand online or an ecommerce-focused business seeking comprehensive solutions, choosing between Shopify and Square ultimately depends on your specific business needs and sales strategy.

Frequently asked questions

Both Shopify and Square offer POS and ecommerce solutions. Shopify is the better option for ecommerce businesses because of its highly customizable, comprehensive ecommerce platform.

There is no native integration that allows Square to be used on Shopify. However, some third-party apps can be used to integrate the two.

No, Shopify and Square are two different POS and ecommerce solution providers. Both offer online site builders and ways to accept payments in-person, online, and on mobile.

Andrea Herrera Avatar

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