Square vs SumUp explained – Payment processing comparison

Updated on 25 April 2024

The advancement of digital technology and the shift towards a cashless society have heralded a new era of payment processing systems. In particular, Square vs SumUp have emerged as two dominant players within the mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) sphere, allowing businesses to accept card payments on the go with just a smartphone or tablet.

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This comprehensive comparison will delve into the nuances of these two companies to help UK businesses make an informed choice.

Square vs SumUp

Year Founded20092011
Hardware OfferedSquare Reader, Square Terminal, Square Stand, Square RegisterSumUp Air, SumUp 3G
Key Software FeaturesInventory management, sales reporting, customer directories, digital receipts, integrated e-commerce, appointment schedulingSales tracking, digital receipts, simple inventory management, online store
Integration with E-commerce PlatformsYesNo
Integration with Accounting SoftwareYesNo
Transaction Fee for Card-Present1.75%1.69%
Transaction Fee for Online or Keyed-In2.5%Not Supported
Customer Support ChannelsPhone (Business hours, Monday to Friday), Email, Live Chat, Self-Service Knowledge BasePhone, Email, Help Centre
Ideal forBusinesses that require a comprehensive solution with robust features and e-commerce integrationSmaller businesses or those seeking simplicity and affordability
Square vs SumUp

Background of Square and SumUp


Founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey in the United States, Square‘s mission was to enable small business owners to accept card payments easily. Square’s business model disrupted the industry by offering a flat-rate pricing structure, making it easier for businesses to predict their costs. Square has expanded its service offering significantly since its inception and now provides a comprehensive suite of financial and business services.

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SumUp is a European-based fintech company, founded in 2011 by Daniel Klein, Marc-Alexander Christ, Petter Made, and Stefan Jeschonnek. The company’s mission is to help businesses overcome the complexity and cost of accepting card payments. SumUp offers a simple, transparent pricing structure, much like Square, and it has become a prominent name in the mobile payment processing industry.

Comparison of Square and SumUp’s hardware

Square hardware

Square provides a range of hardware options suitable for various business needs. The Square Reader for contactless and chip & pin payments is a lightweight device that connects wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet. It’s ideal for businesses that operate on the go.

For businesses seeking a more stationary solution, Square Terminal provides a stand-alone, all-in-one card processing device. There’s also Square Stand, a point-of-sale system designed for the iPad, and Square Register, a fully integrated point-of-sale system with a customer-facing display.

SumUp hardware

SumUp offers two main types of card readers. The SumUp Air is a compact, lightweight card reader that connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It accepts both contactless and chip payments.

Then there’s the SumUp 3G, which has a built-in SIM card and free, unlimited data, making it perfect for businesses that operate without a fixed location. It’s noteworthy to mention that both SumUp’s devices are more affordable compared to Square’s offerings.

Features and software capabilities

Square software capabilities

Square offers a comprehensive range of software features. The basic Square Point of Sale app provides features such as inventory management, sales reporting, customer directories, and digital receipts. This app is free, but more advanced software options are available for a monthly fee. These include Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants, and Square Appointments.

Square’s software also integrates seamlessly with popular e-commerce platforms and accounting software, helping businesses to manage their online sales and keep their accounts in order.

SumUp software capabilities

SumUp’s software capabilities are more streamlined. Their SumUp App provides the basics like digital receipts, sales tracking, and simple inventory management. SumUp also offers an online store feature, allowing businesses to sell online and accept payments through their website.

In comparison to Square, SumUp’s software offering is less comprehensive, focusing on simplicity and ease of use.

Transaction costs and fees

Both Square and SumUp use a flat-rate pricing structure. This means you pay a set percentage fee per transaction, regardless of the type of card used or whether it’s a contactless or chip-and-PIN payment.

Square charges a 1.75% fee for payments made in person with the Square Reader or Square Stand. For online and keyed-in transactions, the fee increases to 2.5%.

SumUp, on the other hand, charges a lower rate of 1.69% for all card-present transactions. They currently do not support online or keyed-in transactions.

Customer support

Customer support can make or break your experience with a payment processor. Square provides customer support via phone, email, live chat, and a comprehensive self-service knowledge base. However, phone support is only available from Monday to Friday, during business hours.

SumUp also offers support via phone and email, and their website features a useful help centre with articles covering common issues. However, SumUp lacks the live chat option provided by Square.

Conclusion: Square vs SumUp – Which is right for your business?

In choosing between Square and SumUp, consider the specific needs of your business.

Square offers more robust hardware options and a wider range of software features, making it ideal for businesses that require a comprehensive solution. Its seamless integration with e-commerce platforms and accounting software could be particularly beneficial for businesses operating both in-person and online.

On the other hand, SumUp offers simplicity and affordability. It’s the perfect choice for smaller businesses or those just starting to accept card payments. Although its software features are less comprehensive, SumUp offers a straightforward, user-friendly experience.

Ultimately, the decision will hinge on what you want from your payment processor. Both Square and SumUp offer reliable, easy-to-use solutions. It’s a matter of assessing your requirements, your budget, and how these two companies can meet your needs.

FAQ – Square vs SumUp

What is Square and what is it used for?

Square is a mobile payment company that provides a variety of hardware and software tools, primarily for small to medium-sized businesses, enabling them to accept electronic payments.

What is SumUp and what is it used for?

SumUp is a mobile payment processor that allows businesses to accept credit and debit card payments using a compact, mobile card reader and an app on their smartphone or tablet.

Who owns Square and SumUp?

Square was co-founded by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, while SumUp was founded by Daniel Klein, Marc-Alexander Christ, Petter Made, and Stefan Jeschonnek.

Can Square be used for personal use?

While Square is primarily designed for business use, individuals can technically use it for personal transactions. However, Square’s terms of service prohibit its use for peer-to-peer payments.

Can SumUp be used for personal use?

Like Square, SumUp is primarily intended for business use and its terms of service do not allow for personal, peer-to-peer transactions.

What hardware does Square provide?

Square provides a range of hardware including the Square Reader, Square Terminal, Square Stand, and Square Register.

What hardware does SumUp provide?

SumUp offers two main card readers: the SumUp Air and the SumUp 3G.

What are the transaction fees for Square and SumUp?

Square charges a 1.75% fee for card-present transactions and a 2.5% fee for online and keyed-in transactions. SumUp charges a 1.69% fee for all card-present transactions.

What kind of customer support does Square provide?

Square offers customer support via phone, email, and live chat. They also have a comprehensive self-service knowledge base.

What kind of customer support does SumUp provide?

SumUp provides customer support via phone and email, and offers a comprehensive help centre on their website.

Do Square and SumUp require monthly fees?

No, both Square and SumUp operate with a simple fee-per-transaction model and do not require monthly fees.

Can I use Square or SumUp without a smartphone or tablet?

Both services require a smartphone or tablet to operate their mobile card readers. However, Square Terminal and Square Register are standalone devices that do not require a smartphone or tablet.

Can I use Square or SumUp outside of the UK?

Yes, both Square and SumUp are available in various countries around the world, but make sure to check the transaction fees in the country you’re operating in.

Can Square and SumUp accept all types of cards?

Yes, both Square and SumUp accept all major credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Are Square and SumUp safe and secure to use?

Yes, both Square and SumUp comply with the highest security standards and are certified to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Level 1.

Can I sell online with Square and SumUp?

Square has integration capabilities with various e-commerce platforms, while SumUp has a basic online store feature for accepting online payments.

Can I integrate Square or SumUp with my accounting software?

Square provides integration with popular accounting software, while SumUp currently does not offer this feature.

What if I want to process a refund with Square or SumUp?

Both Square and SumUp allow for easy processing of full or partial refunds through their apps.

Can I use Square or SumUp for contactless payments?

Yes, both Square and SumUp support contactless payments, as well as chip and PIN transactions.

Which is better, Square or SumUp?

This depends on your business needs. Square offers a wider range of features and is ideal for businesses seeking a comprehensive solution. SumUp, on the other hand, is more affordable and simpler to use, making it a good choice for smaller businesses.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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