Square for Android Basics
Square, that small white magnetic stripe card reader you see all over on iPads and smartphones, can make it easy to turn your smartphone or tablet into a portable point of sale station. Figuring out everything you need to set it up and use it, however, can be confusing. In this Square for Android Basics article, we talk about everything you need to know about using Square with an Android device. We'll go over:
- What Square for Android is and what options are available
- What hardware is officially compatible
- What hardware is unofficially compatible
What is Square for Android?
Square can be used with Android smartphones and tablets in the form of the Square magnetic stripe card reader. It works in tandem with the Square Point of Sale app, which is available for free in the Google Play store. The Square Stand is not an option for Android devices, it is only available for iPad.
To use the Square card reader, it plugs into the headphone jack of your Android phone or tablet. It's available as a standard magnetic stripe reader, as an magnetic stripe and EMV chip reader, or with an additional NFC payment reader (for tap and go payments, like Apple Pay). All Square devices are available from Square's website.
Card reader: Free
Chip card reader: $29
NFC payment reader: $49
With optional dock: $78
Compatible Android Devices: Square is compatible with smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0 or later. See Square's Compatibility Configuration to check if your device is compatible.
Square Android Official Hardware Compatibility:
Square for Android is officially compatible with USB interface barcode scanners, USB or Ethernet interface receipt printers, and USB or printer driven cash drawers (that are compatible with your receipt printer). Below is the list of recommended hardware for Square for Android. Links will direct you to official part number pages. For more information on compatibility, please give us a call!
Please note: USB interface devices require a USB OTG adaptor (or micro USB to USB cable), and your Android device must support USB OTG or USB Host mode. Only one USB device can be used at a time.
Square for Android is officially compatible with the following USB barcode scanners:Honeywell USB* Barcode Scanners Unofficially Compatible Barcode Scanners.
Square for Android is officially compatible with the following USB and Ethernet interface Star Micronics receipt printers:Star Micronics USB*
- TSP100 with Tear Bar (TSP113U)
- TSP100 with Auto Cutter (TSP143U)
- TSP654 (TSP654IIU)
- TSP651 (no longer available)
- TSP113GT & TSP143GT (no longer available)
- SP700 Ethernet (SP742ML)
Square for Android is compatible with printer driven and USB cash drawers. Printer driven cash drawers must be hooked up to a receipt printer that is compatible with Square and your Android device. We recommend considering a manual cash drawer for easiest use with Square for Android. The following cash drawers are officially compatible with Square for Android:APG Printer Driven
*USB interface devices require a USB OTG adaptor (or micro USB to USB cable), and your Android device must support USB OTG or USB Host mode. Only one USB device can be used at a time.
Officially compatible hardware list updated 4/13/2017
Square Android Unofficial Compatibility:There is a wide variety of hardware that works with Square for Android, despite not being officially supported. Bluetooth accessories, for example, are not officially compatible with Square for Android. However, we have tested Bluetooth scanners with success; they function with Square for Android the same way as USB scanners. We have tested the following unsupported hardware, and we have found it works with Square. Please keep in mind that since this hardware is unofficial, Square will not support you should you run into any issues.
Square is built to integrate with only Star Micronics brand printers, so the majority of printers that work with Square are listed on the officially compatible list above. That being said, we successfully tested the Star Micronics TSP100ECO USB (TSP143IIU) with Square.
Square for Android works with any printer driven cash drawer, as long as the cash drawer is compatible with the receipt printer you're using. We successfully used Square with APG, MMF, and POS-X printer driven cash drawers (hooked up to our TSP100 USB printer), but any printer driven cash drawer should work. If you're looking for a cash drawer to use instead of the official cash drawers, we recommend:
Because scanners interface differently with Square for Android than they do with Square for iOS (they primarily work by searching, and they can only search by product name or numeric SKU), nearly any USB scanner should work with Square. We successfully tested USB interface Zebra, Honeywell, POS-X and Datalogic scanners, and even older scanners were able to scan and search in Square.
As we mentioned, Square does not support Bluetooth devices with Android. However, as long as your Android device is compatible with the Bluetooth scanner, any Bluetooth scanner should work with Square. Again, these devices are limited to only searching for products by product name or numeric SKU, and do not automatically add products to the order. If you're looking for a Bluetooth barcode scanner to use with Square for Android instead of the official scanners, we recommend:
See our bluetooth barcode scanner comparison for more information.
Unofficially compatible hardware list updated 4/19/2017
Using Square for Android
So overall, should you use Square for Android? We recommend using it as an affordable alternative to the common iPad Square point of sale set up. With a number of Android tablets available for under $100, and a wider variety of compatible hardware, using Square with an Android device has more options, and more affordable options, for you to choose from. The Square app is a bit more limited with Android, you can only search within certain screens and items aren't automatically added to the order the way they are with iOS, but for small businesses, it's an easy and relatively cheap way to process transactions.