Square is a better POS than QuickBooks, though both products offer good features, support, and integrations. Square POS has more complex and detailed features than QuickBooks in many categories, and comes at no upfront cost — a large contrast with QuickBooks' big one-time fee structure, which is nothing but upfront costs. Most businesses will be better off with Square.
That said, QuickBooks has an impressive accounting service integration, as well as a built-in loyalty program that's far more cost-effective than Square's $25-per-month loyalty program: If either of those features are deal-breakers, your business might need QuickBooks.
Here, we break down the exact pricing, features, and support options you'll receive from Square and QuickBooks, so you'll be fully informed when you decide to find custom quotes from either of these top POS services.
In this guide:
- Square vs. QuickBooks POS: Head-to-Head
- Square vs. Quickbooks POS: Which Is Better Value for Money?
- QuickBooks – Best for Accounting Software
- Square – Best for Overall Features
- Square – Best for Payroll
- Square – Best for Ease of Use
- Square – Best for Support & Training
- Square & QuickBooks Alternatives
- Square vs. Quickbooks – Which Is Best?
Best Restaurant POS for:
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your restaurant
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Is there a version of the software made specifically for iPad use?
Is there a version of the software made specifically for Android tablet use?
Best overall for restaurants
Best for record-keeping
Free (but transaction fees apply)
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Sold by Square, separately or packaged with software. First card reader free. Also works with most leading brands.
Works on Windows tablets, which are sold separately.
Unlimited — but each till requires a new license
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Square vs. QuickBooks POS: Head-to-Head
Square POS offers top-notch features, pricing, and support, while QuickBooks offers okay features, reasonable pricing, and good support. Square's features excel at sales management, inventory management, and marketing, while QuickBooks' features are limited to core POS needs. In addition, Square has a restaurant-specific plan while QuickBooks does not.
However, QuickBooks stands above Square when it comes to three important features: QuickBooks has an accounting software while Square only has integrations with other services, QuickBooks supports a loyalty program at no extra charge while Square's loyalty features are a $25-per-month add-on, and QuickBooks offers a built-in training mode on all plans while Square does not.
Square comes with better customer satisfaction scores than QuickBooks, although both services have the same 12/5 email, phone, and live chat support. Pricing is a big consideration, and Square's Free plan is available at no upfront cost, in comparison to the large one-time upfront fee that all QuickBooks plans use.
Square POS review
Our Tech.co testing and research team found Square ranks highly almost across the board. It's better than any other POS service we tested in five out of the six categories we tested.
These winning categories include business management features, stock management features, and business development features, as well as value for price, and support options/customer satisfaction.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 3.5% + 15¢ charge for keyed-in transactions
- Support options vary by plan
The one category that Square POS doesn't impress in? Cash register features, where Square doesn't offer a training mode to help guide new employees. Still, Square remains by far the best POS on the market.
QuickBooks POS review
QuickBooks started out as an accounting service, and has expanded into other areas including Payroll and tax prep. Its recently introduced POS offers the basics of tracking sales and inventory, and at the higher plans, can help managers track products across multiple locations as well.
- Granular, customizable reports
- Mobile app lets you track miles driven
- 30-day free trial
- Customer support isn't the best
- A little pricey for small operations
Integration with QuickBook's industry-leading accounting service works smoothly, making the POS a great pick for any business that uses and loves balancing their books with QuickBooks software.
However, the interface and feature complexity do not offer the depth and ease of use that Square has. Specific limitations include the fact that QuickBooks is Windows-only, so iPad lovers won't be able to used it.
Finally, QuickBooks plans aren't designed to support restaurant-specific features, which cuts out a large slice of the POS audience. If you operate a restaurant, QuickBooks POS isn't for you.
Square vs. Quickbooks POS: Which Is Better Value for Money?
Together, Square and QuickBooks use two of the more unique pricing schemes in POS systems, which makes them tough to compare directly. Square POS offers a permanent free plan, charging just a per-transaction fee on each sale. QuickBooks, in contrast, charges a single price for one POS plan, which can then be used forever: Its least expensive plan is $1,200, which can be a lot for a small business.
Retailers frequently operate on a tight budget, so limiting up-front costs makes sense. You can't get a more clear distinction here: Square has no up-front cost, while QuickBooks has a large one. Ultimately, that makes it so Square POS is better for value for money, particularly given the broad range of features that Square has to offer.
Many other competitors offer a monthly fee, which might range from Lightspeed's $69 starting cost to Shopify's $29 starter plan.
How much does Square cost?
$60 per month
$60 per month
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Square offers a total of five plans. The most well-known is their free-forever plan, Free, which has all the features most small businesses need to get up and running. They also offer two industry-specific plans, Retail and Restaurant, each for $60 per month per location. Finally, Retail Premium and Restaurant Premium are available for a custom quote, and offer a custom feature set best for enterprises.
Free offers the ability to accept contactless and chip payments for credit and debit cards, with digital receipts and a customer tip prompt. The card reader hardware is all you'll need, and it plugs into iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablets.
You'll also get custom invoicing, sales forecasting, and an offline mode.
Phone and email support are available, though not 24/7.
Retail's features include everything in Free, plus product exchanges, more advanced inventory tools and retail reports, and Square Team Management. Support is 24/7.
The advanced reporting includes over 20 options: Sales can be broken down on a per-item basis, employee performances can be compared across a variety of time periods, and summary reports can be automatically compiled. Customer tracking lets you see each returning customer's purchase histories.
Restaurant also has Free's features, and adds food-service industry specific ones as well: cash management, the ability to open checks, advanced discounts, and kitchen display features including ticket routing and real-time order updates. Support is also 24/7.
Extra Square POS fees
Across all plans, users will be charged the same amount for transactions: 2.6% + 10¢ for card-based transactions; 3.5% + 15¢ for manual keyed-in sales; and 2.9% + 30¢ for ecommerce payments.
All plans have a 30-day free trial (except Free, which is already free to use).
Check out our dedicated Square pricing page for even more information on the extra prices, add-ons and invoice fees from Square POS.
How much does QuickBooks cost?
$1,200 (one-time cost)
$1,700 (one-time cost)
$1,900 (one-time cost)
If paying $20/mo fee:
W/O $20/mo fee:
If paying $20/mo fee:
W/O $20/mo fee:
If paying $20/mo fee:
W/O $20/mo fee:
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The QuickBooks POS is available in three plans: Basic, Pro, and Muli-Store. All three plans use a unique pricing scheme: They're available for a single one-time purchase fee. Basic costs $1,200; Pro costs $1,700; and Multi-Store costs $1,900.
Currently, the service is running a deal: All plans are 50% off, dropping their respective costs to $960; $1,360; and $1,520. Plus, QuickBooks will throw in a free contactless PIN Pad, which they value at $389. Users will have to sign up and be approved for a new QuickBooks Payments account, sold separately with per-transaction and/or monthly fees.
QuickBooks POS Basic
For $1,200, Basic users will receive the ability to track and manage inventory and sales, track customer data, and accept contactless payments (with QuickBook Payments, for a per-transaction charge). Customer files can be imported with Microsoft Excel and Word, and a practice file lets employees figure out the system without risking any company data.
The service integrates both with QuickBooks financial software and with third-party ecommerce providers — specifically, with Amazon, BigCommerce, eBay, Etsy, Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce and Walmart.
QuickBooks POS Pro
For $1,700, Pro users get everything in Basic, plus the ability to generate purchase orders, run a rewards and loyalty program, offer layaway and gift cards, manage employees and payroll, and use more advanced reporting tools.
QuickBooks POS Multi-Store
Finally, for $1,900, Multi-Store includes everything in Pro and also adds on the ability to manage multiple store locations. This includes the functionality for managing and transfering inventory between stores, and as well advanced reporting and analytics that can break down on a store-by-store basis to better compare locations in addition to knowing how well the franchise is doing as a whole.
The QuickBooks POS purchase is a one-time cost, but if you're using QuickBook Payments in order to accept all payment, you will have one on-going cost: the transaction fees.
These costs break down in two different ways. First, you might opt to pay a monthly base fee of $20, which will bring all per-transaction costs down a set amount. You can also choose not to pay a monthly cost, and instead pay slightly higher charges with each transaction.
Either way, different types of transactions will cost different amounts. Keyed-in card numbers are the priciest, costing 3.2% + 25¢ with a monthly fee and 3.5% without. Swiped or dipped cards cost 2.7% + 25¢ with a monthly fee and 2.3% without, although swipes and dips that include a PIN are just 1% without and without the monthly fee.
QuickBooks vs Square: Which has the best free plan?
QuickBooks POS does not have a free plan, but does include a 30-day free trial for any of its three plans — you'll just have to request it through a form on their website or by calling their phone number. You can read more about QuickBooks pricing in our full online guide.
As a result, Square POS's free plan is definitely the best. It offers a great range of features, even if it does come with a catch: Users will still need to pay a transaction fee of 2.6% + 10¢ for every in-person sale and 2.9% + 30¢ for an online sale.
And, if you're interested in Square for Retail or Restaurants, they both match QuickBooks with a 30-day trial for each.
QuickBooks – Best for Accounting Software
QuickBooks POS offers a better accounting software than Square POS. In fact, there's no contest: QuickBooks has a better accounting software than any other top service, according to our researchers. That makes sense, as accounting is QuickBooks's core focus.
In addition, Square doesn't have an in-house accounting service at all: Instead, Square POS offers a range of integrations with other services. And the best one of those is none other than QuickBooks.
So when you think about it, there's no need to pit the two against each other. No matter whether your Point of Sale system is QuickBooks or Square, you'll still be able to use QuickBooks for your accounting needs.
Pricing and Features
QuickBooks offers five accounting plans, starting at a $15 per month plan for self-employed freelancers and going up to the $150-per-month Advanced plan, for up to 25 users. Most businesses will likely want either the Simple Start plan for $25 per month or the Essentials plan for $40 per month, due to the increasing features offered.
Simple Start adds a client database and a supplier database (both of which allow for budgeting and cash flow projections), fixed asset tracking, business contact management, and limited reporting tools as well as unlimited amounts of invoices and estimates.
Essentials offers all those features, expands support for three users (up from one with Simple Start), and adds on bills tracking, recurring billing, expense tracking, support for multiple currencies, bill scanning, and time tracking.
Square's prices for accounting vary, since they depend on the third party accounting service that you chose. What are the options? I'm glad you asked…
Square POS offers that QuickBooks integration as well as integrations with Zoho Books, FreshBooks, One Up, Shogo, Xero, Commerce Sync, Hurdlr, and TaxJar. Several of those services appear in our roundup of the top accounting tools for small businesses, so you'll be in good hands with them.
The QuickBooks Accounting service also has integrations that make it a simple add-on to a handful of popular POS softwares. Of the top POS systems, QuickBooks Accounting can be connected to TouchBistro, Vend, Zettle, and SpotOn (in addition to Square). Expand beyond just the POS category, and QuickBooks Accounting offers a total of over 650 business app integrations.
It'll still be easiest to use within its own POS, but QuickBooks is adaptable.
Square – Best for Overall Features
Square offers an impressive amount of features in just its Free plan, and adds plenty of additional, more advanced options with its Retail and Restaurant plans.
In comparison, QuickBooks POS's three plans are more limited on the whole, despite two big exceptions: QuickBooks Pro adds support for both loyalty programs and payroll, two big perks that most POS systems will charge extra for. In fact, Square POS charges $25 per month for Square Loyalty and $29 per month plus $5 per employee.
However, Square offers more complex sales and inventory tools, better integrations, and a better mobile app than QuickBooks.
Sales and inventory
Free has product categories with custom grids and item modifiers, bulk importing, custom receipts and itemized refunds. It supports online ordering and checkout links, plus electronic gift cards.
QuickBooks Basic offers inventory and sales management tools that can handle discounts, returns, store credit, and gift receipts. It supports emailable receipts, employee user roles, custom reports, and customer file importing.
On the whole, both services take all payment types and include core sales and inventory tools. Still, Square Free offers more granular features than QuickBooks Basic.
Both services offer many integrations with third-party applications, but Square offers an entire App Marketplace, with categories including staff management, ecommerce, employee health and wellness, and third-party retail and restaurant services.
QuickBooks POS integrates with ecommerce tools as well as its own accounting service.
Square – Best for Payroll
Square includes Payroll as an add-on service: Square Payroll will cost a base monthly fee of $29, plus $5 per employee per month. It offers an IRS-compliant payroll system that includes the ability to auto-track and record employees' timecards.
QuickBooks integrates payroll directly into its plans at no extra cost. Their Basic POS plan does not include a payroll system, but the Pro and Multi-Store plans do. Employees can be paid by salary or per-hour, but actual time tracking is only available as an add-on for $20 plus $10 per employee per month.
Which service is best? That depends on your needs. Square Payroll will cost a fair amount per month, but it will include time tracking, which is a key feature for any business that pays on a per-hour basis rather than (or in addition to) a salaried basis. In contrast, QuickBooks includes payroll in its Pro and Multi-Store plans at no extra cost — but without time tracking tools to verify how many hours hourly workers have spent on the clock.
We've given Square the win here, because it offers the features a retailer or restaurant will benefit from, but, for this particular category, those who don't need time tracking will likely save money with QuickBook payroll instead, provided they opt for the Pro plan rather than the Basic one.
Square – Best for Ease of Use
The Square POS earned a perfect 5-star score from our testers for customer satisfaction. While the QuickBooks POS interface is also fairly easy to use, it doesn't quite beat Square.
One big concern with QuickBooks is that it is a Windows-specific product, making it a potential challenge for a business that operates on MacOS or uses the popular iPad tablet when logging sales at the front of a store. The interface is just slightly clunkier than the Square interface.
That said, both services should come with a fairly easy learning curve, even if Square's interface ultimately has a more streamlined feel overall.
Square – Best for Support & Training
Customer support is another category in which our testers determined Square POS rose to the top of the POS pack. QuickBooks offers a great selection of support options, but can't quite top Square.
Square offers plenty of online support options: Users can access a database of user guides, videos, and FAQs online for free, as well as a community forum where other Square customers can answer common questions or suggest fixes that have worked for them. Subforums will direct users to the most useful category for their specific problem, from “New to Square” to “Hardware.”
Phone, live chat and email support is also offered for active Square sellers — you'll have to provide a 12-digit customer code to verify yourself first. Support hours are from 6 am to 6 pm, PST, on work days only.
Oddly enough, QuickBooks POS offers the exact same hours as Square: Monday to Friday, 6 am to 6 pm, PST. Phone, email, and live chat are available, although QuickBooks emphasizes that live chat is the most efficient way to talk to their support staff. QuickBooks also offers an online knowledge hub to answer common questions.
Square & QuickBooks Alternatives
Many top Point of Sale vendors are worth comparing to Square or QuickBooks. Here are the services that our researchers rated the highest (after Square) in our most recent round of testing.
The Lightspeed POS scored well for business development (4.6/5 stars), thanks to features including contactless payments and a wide range of third-party integrations. This, combined with good CRM, payment processing, and inventory tools, makes it that Lightspeed is a particularly great pick for larger retail businesses.
Prices start at $69 per month for the Lean plan, and go up to $199 for Advanced. Check out our full Lightspeed review for more data on the features and fees to expect.
- Ideal for retail stores with barcoded inventory
- Straightforward pricing
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Harder to use for restaurants, florists and businesses without barcodes
- Doesn't integrate with weighing scales
Shopify POS is a great option for a business with a big online presence, as Shopify offers the best ecommerce integrations and multichannel selling choices. Shopify offers unbeatable stock management features (5/5 stars), our testers found, while its customer support options (4.8/5) and business developments tools (4.2/5) are also worth highlighting.
Shopify Lite costs $29 per month — read our full review for more information on the features it includes.
- Very strong ecommerce integration
- 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email
- Works with lots of different hardware options
- Exclusively-focused on retail and ecommerce
- Charges transaction fees unless you're using Shopify's own Payments processing system
- No offline mode
Clover POS also offers ecommerce integrations, as well as a standout loyalty program and great business management (5/5) and stock management tools (5/5). Less impressive are the support options, with just 2.8 out of 5 stars granted by our testers. The business development tools were okay but not great (4/5), but Clover remains an option worth considering thanks to its strong features when it comes to the core function of a POS: Tracking sales and inventory.
- Great for companies that started online but need a physical presense
- Good range of hardware options
- 30-day free trial
- Need pre-existing website unlike Shopify, for example
- Additional features cost extra and can become expensive
- No inter-store transactions
Square vs. Quickbooks – Which Is Best?
Overall, Square POS is better than QuickBooks POS. Our testers ranked Square higher than any other top POS, as a matter of fact. This is due to the service scoring highly across nearly all categories: It's the best service we found for business and stock management tools, value for price, help and support, and customer satisfaction.
QuickBooks POS doesn't offer quite as many features as Square, but it does deliver dependable core functionality, with solid support options. QuickBooks offers an unbeatable accounting service as well, while Square only has accounting integrations.
Need a Quote?
A POS system will streamline any business, small or large, that sells products or services to consumers. And the right one will save far more money than it costs. Square is our testers' top software pick overall, but many more providers are worth looking into, and could be the best option for your business, depending on your industry, size, or other considerations.
You've read our analysis. If you're ready to take the next step, take a minute now to fill out the Tech.co quiz to get customized quotes from all the top POS services.