When you’re looking for an online payment processing provider, your research could come down to the 2 major players in the game: Stripe vs. Square.
Although Stripe and Square provide versatile and similar products, there are clear differences between them. Let’s break down Stripe vs. Square fees, pricing and features to help you choose which is best for your small business.
Stripe vs. Square: A Quick Comparison
|More user friendly||X|
|Accepts more payment types||X|
|More hardware options||X|
|Better for in-store or online transactions?||Online||In-store|
Stripe vs. Square: Features and Functionality
|Stripe Features Overview||Square Features Overview|
Both Stripe and Square are payment processors that facilitate non-cash transactions. Square, specifically, started to help small businesses accept credit card payments. Square has since grown to offer card-reader hardware, point-of-sale (POS) software and other resources to help with your business’s management and operations.
Stripe has been primarily used for online payments, although the company offers a programmable in-person payment terminal for an extra fee. Its custom option makes it a white-label product. Stripe is also developer-friendly, making it easy for companies with developers to customize, brand and integrate the service in their business operations.
In addition to accepting major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover), both services accept mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Stripe edges out Square because it can accept multiple national currencies. Through its sources application programming interface (API), Stripe can even accept payments from overseas processing platforms such as China’s AliPay and WeChat Pay.
Having multiple payment methods can improve your business’s bottom line: You’ll reduce or eliminate the risk of losing customers over a lack of payment options. It’s a better solution for larger volumes of payments, too.
Square’s payment processing offerings have enough digital features to get your business online, but it’s not as versatile as Stripe and can’t accept as many payment types.
Stripe and Square Integrations
Most notably, Square integrates seamlessly with your in-person point of sale (POS) system. This keeps your online and in-person payments running through a single account, making bookkeeping a snap.
Stripe comes with a custom user interface (UI) toolkit. If your company has a smartphone app, you can even integrate Stripe with it to enable seamless purchasing within your app. This makes Stripe a much better option for larger operations that have some technical know-how and can use that option to their advantage.
You can create and publish an ecommerce website with Square Online. Square also allows the business owner to add payment links to social media posts and connect eCommerce sites to an Instagram account. Square can be helpful to professional services businesses with its ability to schedule appointments and bill customers via invoices or keeping payment methods on file.
When it comes to Stripe vs. Square, both companies offer more than payment options. Square has a business debit card, and Stripe has a corporate card. Small business owners can also receive financing through Stripe Capital and Square Capital.
In addition to website-building, Square can help small business owners build a customer loyalty program. The brand also provides professional photographs of your products and offers payroll services.
The verdict? Square is the better choice if you need more support marketing your business and handling some administrative tasks. However, Stripe’s in the lead if you need help getting your business started or compiling data and protecting against fraud.
Stripe vs. Square Fees
When it comes to Square vs. Stripe fees, the numbers are a close, and sometimes an exact, match. Stripe charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per card charge. Square’s fees range from 2.6% plus 10 cents to 3.5% plus 15 cents, depending on the payment type. You won’t have to worry about getting hit by a higher card processing rate by choosing one over the other.
Stripe’s fee structure is pretty straightforward if you’re only accepting credit and debit cards. There’s no upfront fee, and you can set up an account in minutes. It’s comparable to Square in this regard. But there are some complexities in Stripe’s fee structure for different types of payments. Here’s how pricing and processing fee structure breaks down:
|In-person card and digital wallets||2.9% + 30 cents||2.6% + 10 cents|
|ACH transfers||0.8% (maximum $5) for direct debit; $1 per payment for credit||1% per transaction; minimum fee $1|
|Online payments||2.9% + 30 cents||2.9% + 30 cents|
|International payments||3.9% + 30 cents (additional 1% fee charged if currency conversion required)||N/A|
|Invoicing||0.4% after first 25 invoices each month free (with Starter plan)||2.9% + 30 cents; 3.5% + 15 cents if paid using a card on file|
Stripe Pricing vs. Square Pricing
It’s free to create an account on both platforms, but you might need to pay a one-time charge or subscription fees to obtain their additional software.
Square’s POS software fees:
- POS software: Free to download and use
- For retail: Starts at $60 a month
- For restaurants: Starts at $60 a month
- Square Loyalty: Starts at $45 a month
- Square Marketing: Starts at $15 a month
Square’s in-person payments also require you to buy the company’s hardware.
Square’s pricing and fee structure is simpler than Stripe’s. That said, the pricing depends on how you use Square and whether you want any add-on features.
The company also provides the hardware* you’ll need to accept payments in-store:
- Card reader (magstripe): $10 per reader (but first reader free)
- Chip card reader (more secure than standard card readers): $49
- iPad stand: $169 or $16 a month for 12 months
- Square Register: $799 or $39 a month for 24 months
- Square Terminal: $299 or $27 a month for 13 months
Stripe offers a fewer number of in-person card readers:
- BBPOS Chipper 2X BT: $59
- Verifone P400: $299
If you want to have options for your in-person payment processor, Square is the way to go.
*Some hardware might be available at lower prices through resellers.
Stripe or Square? The Verdict
We name Stripe “the best” payment processor because it’s more customizable and is capable of accepting more types of payments.
However, in the Stripe vs. Square showdown, we always recommend small business owners select the option that best fits their business’s needs. The following situations impact which service is better for you:
When to Use Stripe
- You’re running an online operation and want to be able to accept more types of payments worldwide
- You’re anticipating transactions with high dollar amounts or a large volume of online transactions
When to Use Square
- You’re running a brick-and-mortar operation
- If you don’t have a developer on hand who can integrate more complicated payment services into your technology.
- If this is your first time branching into e-commerce