Square Stand: Turn your iPad Into a Cash Register

Having started my career in retail, I remember the days when getting a point of sale system for a retail store was quite the ordeal. Choosing a system alone was time consuming and costly and the installation, set-up, and integration with payment processing left a lot to be desired. While this is still the case for large, multi-store retail operations, small retail business owners can now rest easy knowing there’s a simple, cost-effective way to turn an iPad into a cash register that can do everything you’d expect from a high-end POS system. The Square Stand retails for $99 and can process credit cards, gift cards, and cash payments.


I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I saw the device and its price that it could offer a robust POS solution but I was also teeming with curiosity when I started seeing these little devices pop up at trendy little stores around Vancouver. So, I was pretty excited that our friends at Square sent one over to me to take for a little test spin. I’ve been playing around with my test unit and I have to say that if I were opening my own retail store, I would definitely choose this device as my POS.



The hardware here is pretty simple. It’s a white stand that my iPad easily slid into and it has a power cable that plugs into an outlet. The stand has a card reader right at the front, so it’s easy to take a credit card and give it a swipe. The design is minimalistic and would work with any retailer’s décor without cluttering the cash desk with a large monitor, keyboard, etc.

Square Stand

For those who need a cash drawer, barcode scanner, and receipt printer, Square recommends some compatible accessories that can easily be added to the system.


Setting Things Up

Setting up the Square Stand is a breeze! Basically, you download the free iPad app, Square Register, from the App Store, create an account and you’re off to the races. Once that’s all ready to go, you can enter sale amounts for transactions manually or you can program prices. To program a price, you simply hit the “Edit” button in the Item Library, hit the add button and provide the price, item name, and any other information you wish to fill out. You can even assign an image to each item so you can select items visually when completing a transaction. You can also categorize items, if you wish.

Square Stand Set Up

Completing Transactions

Once you’re all set up, completing a transaction is a snap. You simply enter the register mode and tap the items you wish to add to the transaction, then you hit the “Charge” button at the bottom, select the payment method, and complete the payment. If you make a mistake along the way, you can simply clear the sale.

Square Stand Transaction

If the transaction is completed using a credit card, Square will deposit the funds in the bank account you specified during set up within 2 business days.


At the moment, Square does not process Canadian debit card payments, so retailers who use debit will still need to process these payments using another payment processor. That being said, the system allows you to select a debit option for tracking and reporting purposes.



While many payment processing providers charge based on complicated fee structures or flat monthly rates regardless of how much you use them, Square’s fee structure is simple and reasonable: swiped transactions are subject to a 2.75% fee while manually entered ones are subject to 3.5% plus 15 cents. The reason manually entered transactions are more expensive is that there is a higher risk involved when the card and buyer do not have to be present.


Other Features

The Square Stand offers a variety of features beyond payment and transaction processing. It also allows you to pull reports, email or text message receipts to customers, add tip functions, program discounts, and much more. Overall, it’s a very robust system at an amazing price!

Square Stand Receipts

All in all, I really enjoyed testing out this device and would recommend it to anyone opening a retail store. It’s easy to set up, provides great functionality, and is affordable—both to purchase and when it comes to processing fees. I wish setting up a POS system had been this painless when I was in retail!

By Mike Agerbo

June 10, 2014