Payment solutions provider Square is expanding its payments imprint with a new paid subscription offering, Invoices Plus. With the new subscription, businesses can create custom invoice templates which can be saved and reused, milestone-based payment schedules, multi-package estimates and custom invoice fields. These advanced features can be accessed within the Square Dashboard or through the Invoices app. Square says the program is ideal for growing businesses that want to streamline their work and billing with advanced, time-saving features.
Square users can try it out for free for 30 days. After that, the service is $20 per month. Payment processing fees are the same for the free version and for the Invoices Plus plan. Invoices Plus subscribers can pause their subscription at any time for up to three months. If they cancel Invoices Plus, they can use the paid features until the end of the month for which they last paid. Square customers who choose not to subscribe after the free trial ends will still have access to the upgraded tools created during their trial period, but they won’t be able to use the new features.
According to TechCrunch, Square did a soft launch of Invoices Plus, testing the new subscription service with individual users. Though the company has not made a formal announcement, they have created a “Get Started with Invoices Plus” page on their website and they have posted their Invoices Plus Teams of Use online.
Square announcement on user forum
“In the next few weeks, we will be launching Square Invoices Plus, a monthly subscription plan with advanced features (including some your business has previously used) that help you run your business more effectively. With Invoices Plus, you’ll have access to tools that will help you win more work, speed up invoicing and provide valuable information to customers faster.
“Invoices Plus includes features your business previously used.
“In the past year, we released a series of features as part of the Invoices Plus limited time trial. These features include multi-package estimates, custom invoice templates and custom invoice fields. Invoices Plus will include these features, as well as two additional features – the ability to automatically convert accepted estimates to invoices and build milestone-based payment schedules (3+ instalment invoices). In the coming days, these additional features will include a ‘trial’ label in your Square Invoices software.
“Any multi-package estimates, invoice templates, milestone-based payment schedules or custom fields that you have created in the past year will be editable (read/write access), if you choose not to subscribe to Invoices Plus. However, you will not be able to create any new files using these features.
“You can still send unlimited invoices, estimates and contracts for free with the Invoices Free plan.
“Invoice tracking, reminders and reporting tools will also remain free for you to use. Only pay for processing when you accept online payments,” Square said.
Here is an excerpt of UCPrint’s comments on Invoices Plus:
“…I’m really concerned that Square is now taking a step to monetize basic improvements. This sets a precedent to make a ‘free’ tier of the square UX that just dangles pointlessly paywalled features in front of the user, and there’s no reason for them to stop with a few invoices features. ‘Advanced’ features for inventory, user support etc.
This is the kind of behavior I’d expect from a free/ ad-supported service, NOT one that we already pay to use. I’m already on a subscription with Square, to the tune of 2% of every sale that I make. If this doesn’t cover basic and incremental product improvements moving forward, then I’m not happy with the service that I’m receiving…” said UCPrint.
Seamus, community manager for Square in Australia, responded, noting that Square has had free and paid tiers for their services. Paid services include Square Online, Square Appointments, Square for Retail and Square for Restaurants. Here is an excerpt of his response:
“With the introduction of Invoices Plus, the goal is to be able to offer a more sophisticated product with comparable functionality to other Invoicing apps and software available as paid products, while continuing to offer the free version of Invoices.
“The release of Square Invoices Plus doesn’t mean that the standard features for Square Invoices won’t improve going forward. We take feature requests and feedback into account when releasing changes to our products – both paid, and free. Yes, you are still paying a card processing fee on the free version, however this fee alone isn’t necessarily going to provide the resources needed to build a product as sophisticated as other subscription-based Invoice apps and allow us to service that market. The same goes for our other paid products…,” Seamus said.
“As a business owner, it’s totally understandable you’d want to keep costs as low as possible while getting the most out of what you are paying for. It’s ultimately your call as to whether Square’s overall value proposition as both a card processor and ecosystem of free and paid products to help run your business is worth it over possible alternatives,” Seamus continued. “All things considered, I think we offer pretty good overall value in our free products, with seamless payments integration over a range of apps and a business model where we are only successful when you are (i.e., the card processing fee). But I get your frustration here as a long time Square seller and will certainly share your feedback internally.”
Like so many other payment providers, Square is trying to innovate to offer their customers the best possible experience while also working toward long-term financial sustainability and getting their share of the growing payments market. New, paid products often raise the ire of users, so it is a plus that Square offers an online community where Square users can vent their frustration and ask questions. It is even better that Square listens to their merchant community. While they may not change how they handle their paid products in the future, they are at least listening to their customers.