Square vs. Lightspeed

Square and Lightspeed both enable business owners to accept payments and manage their businesses. Once you get down to the details, however, there are clear differences between the two.

Square vs. Lightspeed

How Square works

The foundation of Square is a robust payment acceptance system. With Square, you can not only accept both payment cards and mobile payments, but also offer buy now pay later (BNPL) with Afterpay. Additionally, Square offers physical Point of Sale (POS) hardware at affordable prices while, with Square Online, you can use the Square payment system without hardware.

On top of that, Square has built a huge ecosystem of business tools, many of which are free or freemium. Additionally, it has over 5000 partner integrations ranging from cross-industry staples (e.g. accounting software) to niche tools for diverse business sectors, particularly retail and restaurants.

How Lightspeed works

Like Square, Lightspeed offers the option to accept payment cards and mobile payments. However, at present, it does not have a native integration with a BNPL service.
Officially, Lightspeed offers its services to businesses of all sizes. In practice, however, its pricing structure is unlikely to be attractive to small businesses. This means that its real target market is medium-sized businesses. With that said, it’s not really intended for either enterprises or franchises

Square vs. Lightspeed – a direct comparison table

Square vs Lightspeed - a direct comparison table

Here is a table showing the key features of Square and Lightspeed. As previously mentioned, Square’s services are suitable for small businesses as well as medium-sized and larger ones. Square also has a much broader range of additional tools and integrations. This makes it easier for businesses to customize how they use Square.


Square’s Trustpilot score


Lightspeed’s Trustpilot score

Cost comparison

  Square Lightspeed
payment processing solution
*Integration with
Lightspeed Payments available
No chargeback fees $15
Next day transfer as standard - Two Business Days
No chargeback fees
Instant transfer -
access funds in minutes (for a fee)

In-person payments

  Square Lightspeed
Free POS App with no monthly fees
All-in-one POS system with
customer display and built-in software
Square Register - $899
Portable EFTPOS machine
with built-in receipt printer &
free, pre-installed POS software
Square Terminal - $399
Countertop iPad POS stand with
built-in card reader
Square Stand - $249
POS hardware starting price Square Reader - $59
Physical gift cards
Afterpay acceptance in person
Built-in surcharge feature
Offline mode
(Process card payments
without internet access)
Yes with Square Terminal, Square POS, Square Retail, Square Restaurantand Square Register Yes with some features unavailable offline

Online and remote payments

  Square Lightspeed
Free online store
Photo Studio app for
item library and online store
Payment links
Invoicing software
Virtual Terminal to take
payments over the phone
or on your computer
Afterpay acceptance online
e-Gift Cards

Solutions for retail stores

  Square Lightspeed
Retail POS System
Free monthly plan
Inventory management
Unlimited items
Auto-generate SKUs
Auto create from GTIN
Cross-location stock counts
Customisable Item Grid
Sell by weight / decimal
Item categories
Advanced item search
Inventory counting tool
Smart stock forecasts
Barcode printing
Cross-location returns and exchanges
Automatic purchase orders Yes on Pro plan only
Order history
Vendor management
Digital receipts
Vendor sales reports
Multi-store management
CRM, Marketing & Loyalty Starting from $20/mo Starting from $229/mo
Team management software
including rostering and
time tracking
Sell on Instagram

Solutions for restaurants

  Square Lightspeed
Restaurant POS System
Free monthly plan *Free plan only available
when processing payments
through Lightspeed Payments
First party hardware built for restaurants
First party online & QR ordering
First party Kitchen Display System
Mobile POS
Auto-menu creation
Kitchen performance reports
Floor plan customisation
Course management
Seat management
Restaurant inventory management
Advanced reporting
(close of day, shift, live sales)
Team management software
including rostering
and time tracking
CRM, Marketing & Loyalty Starting from $20/mo Starting from $229/mo

*Competitive data on this page was collected as of 15 Oct 2022 and is based on information found on lightspeedhq.com. This information is subject to change or update without notice. Square does not make any representations as to the completeness or accuracy of the information on this page.

In short, both Square and Lightspeed are highly capable payment acceptance solutions. Square’s pricing structure is designed to allow businesses to start small and grow. Lightspeed, meanwhile, is better suited to businesses that are already at least medium-sized.

The real difference between the two services comes when you look beyond payment processing. Square offers a whole ecosystem with about everything businesses need to run their operations successfully. Gaps in Square’s native service are seamlessly filled by partner integrations available in the Square App Marketplace.

This means that business owners have a convenient path to building highly customized systems that they can trust to work smoothly.

Why businesses choose Square

Many businesses turn to Square purely because they want a secure payment system that’s also easy to use and affordable. In particular, they appreciate the fact that Square offers POS hardware to suit all situations and budgets. Options range from the basic but effective Square Reader to the feature-rich Square Register via the all-around workhorse of the Square Terminal.

Once they’ve connected to Square, they have access to the wide range of useful products and services in the Square ecosystem. There is also a huge selection of vetted integrations. Some businesses choose Square precisely because they want access to a solution that is guaranteed to work out of the box but is still customizable.

Other businesses choose Square because of its attractive cost structure. For example, Square offers free plans for both retail POS and restaurant POS. In both cases, these free plans will provide most, if not all, the features most smaller businesses need. Lightspeed, by contrast, currently does not have a free plan for retail POS and only has a very limited free plan for restaurant POS.

Offsite and online options

Some retailers now operate purely online. Even if that’s not the case for you, it’s highly advisable that you have at least one online option. In fact, it’s quickly becoming almost mandatory. Restaurants too, despite having to have physical premises, can still benefit from expanding their online booking, pick-up and delivery options.

If you’re really not ready to commit to running a website, then Square paylinks allows you to send shoppable links directly to your customers (e.g. via email). Square also offers free invoicing software.

On the other hand, if you do want to run an online store, Square Online makes it easy. You don’t need any technical skills and it integrates seamlessly with the Square virtual terminal as well as all other Square digital services.

Having an online store also allows you to leverage shoppable posts in social media including on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Social selling can really expand your reach, especially with younger adults.

Square ecosystem offerings

Square is so much more than just a secure, easy-to-use and cost-effective way to accept payments. It’s a whole suite of tools and services designed to help all businesses to succeed on their own terms. For example, Square can help you to manage appointments, run a loyalty program or even get a business loan.

Everything you need to run your business, anywhere, anytime.

Square has all the tools you need to reach your customers and grow your business, whether in person, online or both.

Set up a free online store that seamlessly syncs with your in-person sales, items and customer management.

Send an unlimited number of invoices, estimates or recurring invoices to request payments for goods & services.

Square Point of Sale is simple to set up, easy to use and has no monthly costs, you only pay processing fees.

Keep new and existing customers coming back with Marketing and Loyalty tools that grow your business.

Simplify your day with our web-based appointment scheduling software and app.

Streamline your operations with Square for Retail’s advanced Inventory & vendor management, reports, purchase orders, barcode label printing, and more.

Our restaurant POS system is built for speed. From menu management to coursing, every tool helps your team move faster.

Get your money deposited in your bank account as fast as the next day or instantly for a fee.

Hardware for selling anywhere.

Square Reader

The fastest and most secure way to pay. Accept chip and PIN cards, contactless payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay. An easy solution for your on-the-go business.

Square Terminal

The all-in-one portable EFTPOS machine that lets you accept all kinds of payments easily and print (or email) receipts – the perfect solution for tableside services.

Square Register

The fully integrated touchscreen point-of-sale that lets you start selling right out of the box. Manage card and contactless payments, online sales and more, all from one POS register.

Square Stand

Turn your iPad into a powerful point of sale with payments built in. In a swivel, Stand becomes a customer display, so you can sell accurately and customers can confirm their total and pay.

Frequently Asked Questions