Stripe vs Square: Which One is Best for your Business?
Both Stripe and Square exist to make processing credit and debit card payments easier, cheaper and more accessible. Customers include small and large businesses, ecommerce firms, trades professionals and people selling offline. But when it comes to Stripe vs Square, which will meet your needs better?
This guide covers all you need to compare Square and Stripe including the application processes, fees and integration options.
Stripe vs Square
In many ways Stripe and Square look alike. Both help business owners connect with more customers through card payments on and offline. But there are some differences in the way the services are structured and who they’re best for. Let’s take a look at a comparison of some key features and fees.
The Important Bits
Targets - businesses providing online payments, although in person POS solutions are also now available
Technical knowledge required to set up - to make the most of Stripe online payments and API you’ll want some technical knowledge
Monthly fee - No monthly fees
Online payments - 2.9% + 0.30 USD fee per transaction
Integration - pre-built integrations with partners including WooCommerce, Shopify and NetSuite. Developers can also build their own integrations
Customer support - digital support is available, you can also upgrade to premium support for a fee
Targets - businesses providing in person mobile payments, additional services have also been added to broaden the company’s appeal
Technical knowledge required to set up - no technical knowledge required to take on the go payments using the Square online tools or phone adapter
Monthly fee - No monthly fees
Online payments - 2.9% + 0.30 USD
Integration - integrate with Wix, WooCommerce, inventory and shipping tools and more
Customer support - customer support available 24/7, rated 4.7/5 on Trustpilot
Learn more about Stripe
Learn more about Square
Stripe application process
Set up your Stripe account online to immediately begin integrating with your online store.
- Open the Stripe website and follow the prompts to register your account
- Activate your account
- Start to integrate Stripe - you can test the functionality as you go
- Add and verify your bank account when you’re ready to start taking payments
- Payouts will start 7 days after you take your first sale
Square application process
Sign up for Square and then activate the payment types and services you need to use. Here’s how to get started by signing up online:
- Head to the Square website and click Get started
- Enter your email address, create a password and click Create account
- Follow the prompts to enter information about yourself and your business
- Verify your identity
- You’ll receive a link to download the Square payment app on your mobile device or computer
- Tap the link to download and get started
Stripe vs Square fees - the breakdown
Neither Stripe nor Square charge monthly fees - which is one factor in making these providers popular among small businesses. However, there are per transaction costs, and a range of other fees you’ll want to know about when you’re deciding on the best ways for your business to take card payments.
It’s worth noting where the fees are different between the two providers. Some key costs - like online transaction processing fees - are the same. But there are also important differences. Square may work out cheaper if you take payments requiring currency conversion, for example. While Stripe offers cheaper instant balance withdrawals if that’s important to you.
Here are some of the key fees to consider from both Square and Stripe - read the full terms and conditions for each account and provider online.
Stripe - pros and cons
Stripe was created with online payments in mind. While you can use pre-set integration tools to use Stripe even without a great deal of technical knowledge, it can also be used by developers to build integrations which are tailor made to specific businesses. These days Stripe does offer a lot more than online payments - you can also work with Stripe partners to build your business, or get a payment terminal to move to in person payments as well as online transactions.
Whether Stripe or Square is right for you is going to depend a lot on the business you run, and how you like to work. Comparing some pros and cons of each service makes sense before you choose one - don’t forget to also look at the processing fees to make sure you know what you’ll pay for the service you select.
Here are some pros and cons to think about when considering Stripe:
- Broad range of business and payment services available. No set up or monthly fees for any major payment card or wallet
- On and offline payment options now available
- Additional services available - set up a legal entity, issue payment cards and check customer ID through Stripe partners
- Off the shelf and custom API available, with strong API tools available for developers
- Cheaper than Square for bank transfer payments
- Per transaction fees can mount up for international payments in particular
- More expensive than Square for in person payments
- To withdraw your funds quickly you’ll need to pay a 1% fee
- Some business solutions offered by Square aren’t available from Stripe - check the full range of options when choosing between the two
Square - pros and cons
Square started out producing adapters which could easily turn your phone or other mobile device into a payment terminal. That made them perfect for people who needed to take on the go payments - sellers at craft fairs, tradespeople or cab drivers for example. You didn’t need any technical knowhow or an online presence to make use of the service. Over time, Square has built out its range of options. Now as well as taking online and mobile payments, you can get stylish full service payment terminals and hardware to get paid no matter what type of business you run. You can also arrange payroll, get gift cards for your business or set up a loyalty scheme all through Square.
There’s no right answer when it comes to Square vs Stripe. Different individuals and different business types will be better suited to one or the other. Think about how you’ll use the payment processing service you pick, and check out the full range of fees to help you decide.
Here are some of the pros and cons of Square that are worth thinking about when you’re choosing the best payment processing service for your business.
- Broad range of services available with no set up or monthly fees
- No additional processing costs for international card payments - although customer may pay a conversion fee based on their card issuer
- On and offline payment options now available - more offline terminal options than Stripe
- Extras on offer including employee and contractor payroll services, loyalty programs for your customers and email marketing support
- Cheaper than Stripe for in person payments
- Fees apply for a number of transaction types, make sure you’ve checked out the full pricing detail
- Most comprehensive offline terminal options are fairly expensive at 799 USD
- Manually keyed payments have higher fees due to the increased fraud risk with this payment type
- Instant withdrawals are more expensive compared to Stripe - 1.5%
Both Stripe and Square have made life much easier for businesses accepting card payments on and offline. By making it possible to take payments without long term commitments and monthly fees, these payment solutions have allowed businesses to grow in new ways.
Which one is best for your business will depend on your personal preferences and also the type of transactions you take most often. While online payments have broadly similar fees, the international transaction costs, manual payment fees and other key charges do vary between Stripe and Square. Weigh up how often you’ll need to use these services before you commit.