Kounta (by Lightspeed) vs Square POS – 2020 Comparison between POS Giants

Posted by: Moe Assafiri
Category: Point of Sale

Today we’re looking at Lightspeed Kounta POS vs Square POS. Both POS giants are leaders in the Cloud POS game and have completely changed the landscape of POS here in Australia and around the world.

Update 2020: Kounta is has now been acquired by Lightspeed. Lightspeed is the world’s largest public POS software company, with a track history of developing and building innovative POS software for Hospitality and Retail. The Kounta software will remain the same for the foreseeable future and this article remains correct.

The all important Pricing

Square POS is famous for being completely free – with a condition. If you would like to use their integrated payment terminals, you’re charge per transaction is 1.9% + transaction fees. This fee is a blended rate for all cards, premium, regular, debit etc.

Financial Comparison based on average sales of $20,000 revenue per week and one Point of sale terminal with a stand and one printer

Hardware$908$426 **
Installation self managed$0$0
Licence fee year one$1440$0
Merchant fees year one*

Speak to us about free merchant facilities.

Total first year cost$12,350$20,186
The important Feature Set Summary
Restaurant table supportYesYes
Recipe and ingredient inventory tracking supportYesNo
Extensive integrations list, eg:

  • Xero Accounting
  • Deputy
  • Loyalty
  • Guest WiFi
  • Hotel Management Systems
  • Bump Screens
Timesheet roster managementYesNo
Printing Support

** Star Printers are generally 20% more expensive than Epson comparable devices. If you have a complex setup with many printers, your harward costs may be higher on Square considering its limitation to Star printers.

Epson and STARSTAR Printers Only
Production Ticket Printing with printer routingYesYes
Gift CardsDigital OnlyPhysical & Digital (2.9% fee + Cost of card)
Online Order with Delivery integrationYes (5.5% Fee)No
Customer Facing DisplayYesNot available in Australia
Integration into Uber, Deliveroo & DoorDashYesNo

Start a Free Kounta Trial

Square POS is free, but comes at a cost.

The comparison above give you an indication of the costs and feature set with both Point of Sales. The trade off with Square, if you use the Square EFT Merchant facilities, you’ll ultimately be paying a higher cost in fees than with Kounta and BYO Merchant facility using  a bank like CBA or Tyro.
Once you are making over $10,000 revenue per week; the cost of Square is generally more expensive compared to Kounta’s fixed licencing. 

If you BYO Merchant Facility with Square, keep in mind that you cannot integrate your POS into your EFT terminal. That will open a world of pain – for example a $100 bill can quickly turn into a $10 or $1000 EFT charge from a staff member making a simple mistake – either way, it a mistake that is not good for your business.

Additionally there is a way to completely offset your merchant fees to your customers – you can speak to us if you’d like to know more about $0 merchant fees (Note, you will need to do a minimum of $10,000 in EFT sales per month).

This method on-charges the EFT to your end customer, generally charging them a small (~1%) fee for accepting your card. For most customers this will be about 4-5c extra to their coffee, but will save you $10,000’s per annum.


Kounta POS Review

Kounta has dozens of integrations which make Kounta POS truly unbeatable.

Kounta POS Review

Kounta was founded in Sydney, Australia and has recently been acquired by Lightspeed, a Canadian company.

Kounta has a near zero learning curve. It’s designed to be easy to use and easy to learn, generally our clients who use Kounta will be proficient within 2-3 days of using the software. Kounta also provides extensive learning, including online video courses and regular masterclasses.

Kounta is highly customisable and can be customised to pretty much any hospitality setup (it even has a dark mode, which is perfect for Bars) It has an intuitive product editor, so adding, editing and modifying products is easy. It is 100% Cloud based, so you can change pricing, update inventory or add specials to your menu from anywhere in the world and have it synchronised on your POS within minutes.

Kounta has an included CRM module, although limited, it allows you to store information about your customers which can kick-start loyalty programs such as Marcello, Kitty or LOKE.

Kounta’s reporting is among the best in the industry. Real time reporting provides live sales and order data on the dashboard, while over 15 in-depth reports allows you to see all aspects of your business.

If you’re really a data nerd, Kounta Insights is the built in Business Intelligence tool that rivals Microsoft Power BI and Tableau (if you don’t use this software, think of them as Excel Pivot tables and visualisations on steroids). Kounta insights is bar and far the best reporting platform on any POS in Australia, and maybe even the world.

Print as many receipts you like, and regardless of your plan level as Kounta supports unlimited printers. You can specify which printer shall print for a specific products, which is ideal for large venues with multiple kitchens and kitchen areas.

Kounta supports a ton of Payment merchants, including WestPac, CBA’s Albert (not recommended), Tyro and SmartPay.

This brings us to the best feature of Kounta POS – it’s integration with world-class cloud software. Because Kounta is 100% Cloud based, it works with other Cloud based services like Xero, Deputy and even delivery partners like Uber. Compared to other POS, Kounta has the best integrations and API in its class.

Kounta Pricing Plans:

Kounta offers a free plan which limits you to 10 sales per day, and several paid-per-use plans with different features:


24/7 Email and Phone Support Included on all Kounta Plans. However if you’re looking for a Local Kounta Specialist you can contact UniPOS Melbourne.


Start a Free Kounta Trial

Sell – $60/month + $40 per additional POS

  • Ideal for small stores needing the basic stock management features
  • One device
  • Multi user access
  • Multisite management
  • Stock counts
  • CRM
  • Account Sales
  • Multiple printing
  • Loyalty and Credit card payment
  • Online ordering
  • Reporting

Manage – $120/month + $40 per additional POS

Our price comparison is based on this plan.

  • Best for rising businesses and multi-venue businesses
  • Phone support
  • Table and Table Layouts
  • Refund and Adjustment Reasons
  • Gift Cards (Fees apply)
  • Custom Price Lists
  • Adjustment and Refund reasons
  • Wastage

Extend – $180/month + $40 per additional POS

  • Ideal for larger store setups and emerging brands
  • All features in Manage package
  • Staff level order control
  • CRM and Marketing integration
  • Time and attendance
  • Bar tabs
  • Item specific printing
  • Custom API integration

Square POS Review

Head to Head: SQUARE

Square is a point-of-sale (POS) application designed to provide businesses with a reliable and fast POS system. It enables you to take payments using your iOS or Android devices and can be implemented on the counter or on-the-go. The system comes with a free downloadable software plus a Square magstripe reader, allowing payments via debit and credit cards. It also comes with real-time sales and inventory tracker, as well as item management platform.

The easy to set up and simple to use POS is built to help get your staff up and running quickly. It lets you drag and drop items and categories, customize your items grid, and bring popular items front and center. With the system, customers can choose between digital (email or text message) and printed receipts. Its open tickets and split tender feature keep tabs open to let your customers pay when it’s convenient as well as split a tab by cards or take payments multiple ways

Square gives you the ability to manage inventory such as changing item details like price, name, or quantity in real time. Likewise, it allows you to manage employee access to data with employee passcodes and keep an eye out on who sold and refunded what. Furthermore, Square’s POS system lets your employees clock in and out right at your point of sale. Every transaction is linked to an employee, thereby speeding up reconciling tips and commissions.

You can handle multiple locations from one account, letting you edit your menu, employee timecards, and prices for different locations from anywhere, all through your Square Dashboard. You get reporting functions that can filter reports by employee, location, and POS device, and generate revenue-per-labor-hour reports so that you can see your business’ financial performance.

Square is transaction-based, meaning you will be charged a certain percentage for every tap, dip, or swipe (representing your customer’s payment via credit card or mobile device) in your POS device (tablet or smartphone with Square magstripe reader or POS terminal with Square contactless reader).

Overview of Square Benefits

  • Simple and Powerful
    Download the free app and easily install it in your device. Its drag and drop functionality provides ease of operation in organizing and moving items, products, and categories. The ticket management feature can keep tickets open to let you create, save, and add to orders with a touch. The ease of use of the software ensures that users instantly implement it right off the bat and immediately reap the benefits.
  • Paperless Transactions
    Undertake quick and paperless transactions by accepting payments using Android and Apple smartphones and tablets. Square also automatically stores digital receipts, manage inventory, and generate sales reports.
  • Intelligent Reports
    Square can generate feedback via intelligent reports and valuable analytics, giving you insights on your operations and help you come up with better business decisions. You get to run your business in real time and keep tab on your sales, customers, and more.
  • Manage Inventory Anywhere
    Simply sign in to your free Square Dashboard from any computer and manage your inventory from anywhere. You can download reports on current inventory, update inventory quantities in bulk, receive daily stock alert email, and quickly import thousands of products with CSV spreadsheets.
  • Easy Email Marketing
    Square can send automated email campaigns for you to help you send more targeted messages at the right time. You can set up welcome emails, birthday offers, and more, to build better customer relationships. The system lets you create new customer profiles at the point of sale to build your directory, and provides customizable email templates and a distribution list that lets you go from idea to sending email campaigns in minutes.
  • 24/7 Support Center (Non Australian)
  • You can contact Square by phone or email for any queries and issues or you can visit its support center which is open round the clock where you can find tons of POS tips, FAQs, articles, guides and videos. There is also a seller community where you can collaborate and learn from your fellow sellers.
Author: Moe Assafiri
Mouhamed "Moe" Assafiri has a degree in Information Systems and over 5 year experience with cloud Point of Sale implantation and networking. He has worked with a range of Point of Sale solutions available in Australia and world-wide and delivered 100's of hospitality and retail projects across Australia.

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