PayAnywhere VS Square: Which Is Better For Your Small Business?
|Pricing||$0-$12.95/month service fee, plus $0-$39.95/month software fee||$0/month|
|Ease of Use||Good||Excellent|
|Reviews & Complaints||Fair||Excellent|
|Best For||Certain mobile businesses processing under $8K/month||Most small businesses processing up to $15-20K/month|
|Next Steps||Visit Site
If you’re a small business owner who is interested in mobile processing, or you want to take payments with a lightweight, portable smart terminal, Square and Payanywhere are two attractive options to consider. Both companies offer a variety of mobile POS features, such as invoicing, inventory, and innovative mobile hardware, all with next-day funding and a free plan. But despite the similarity in their feature sets, these POS companies are actually very different when it comes to how they operate.
In case you don’t have time to read the whole article: We like Square a lot better than Payanywhere overall, though there are some cases where Payanywhere could, at least theoretically, make sense for your business. Keep reading to learn why we came to this conclusion.
Table of Contents
- PayAnywhere VS Square: Quick Look
- Comparing Square & PayAnywhere Features
- Square VS PayAnywhere Pricing
- Ease Of Use
- Customer Service & Support
- Reviews & Complaints For PayAnywhere VS Square
- The Key Differences Between PayAnywhere & Square
- Which Is Best For My Business Needs: PayAnywhere Or Square?
- PayAnywhere VS Square Comparison: The Final Verdict
PayAnywhere VS Square: Quick Look
When comparing Square vs. Payanywhere, you’ll see that they both offer flat-rate, pay-as-you-go processing and mobile hardware with similar POS features. But if you take a closer look at Payanywhere vs. Square, you’ll find that only Square offers a truly free plan with no contract.
Let’s delve into the similarities and differences between Square vs. Payanywhere.
Payanywhere is a mobile processing service established in 2010 by merchant services provider North American Bancard. The product was clearly designed to compete with Square, with its mobile reader and flat-rate pricing model for low-volume and mobile businesses. The execution was somewhat clumsy, as Payanywhere’s features were not as extensive as Square’s, the pricing disclosures weren’t as clear, and its aesthetic appeal was not as sleek as Square’s.
Some issues that have hampered Payanywhere since its inception include technical glitches with the app that prevent merchants from processing credit cards and a reputation for poor customer service. Funding holds and sudden account terminations can also be an issue, though this is true of any third-party payment processor.
In 2017, Payanywhere released the “new Payanywhere” with a revamped feature-set and a new version of the app. In addition to the original mobile reader, Payanywhere also offers smart terminals and complete POS systems for brick-and-mortar businesses. Still, customers continue to complain about tech problems and unresponsive support. Even worse, there are also a lot of customers who feel duped because they were rolled over into an ironclad merchant services contract because they unknowingly exceeded Payanywhere’s annual processing limit for the pay-as-you-go plan.
The company has made some improvements at disclosing its pricing and fees, but you have to read the contract very closely to discover the actual costs and terms involved.
- Free card reader (magstripe + chip card)
- Free mobile processing app
- Free virtual terminal
- Sleek POS hardware available (for an additional monthly charge)
- Competitive flat-rate pricing available — slightly cheaper than Square for small tickets
- Automatic rollover to a merchant account with tiered pricing if you process more than $100K/year
- Many additional fees
- Glitchy, poorly supported app
- Occasional funding holds and account terminations
- Very few software integrations
Founded in 2009 by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Square has gone from quirky mobile POS product to practically a household name. Square’s name comes from its original square-shaped mobile readers, but Square’s readers have evolved over the years just like its feature-set (though Square does still offer a plug-in mobile reader free of charge).
Like Payanywhere, Square offers flat-rate, pay-as-you-go pricing, which can work out great for very small businesses processing somewhere around $10K/month and less. Also like Payanywhere, Square offers full POS hardware solutions, making its product suitable not just for mobile business but for any business.
Square’s features are frequently updated and continually refined, including a free online store on all accounts, socially distanced selling features, and packages with specialized features for specific industries such as restaurants, retail, and service businesses. Square is also compatible with a slew of business software that can be used to expand your Square POS to do just about anything.
Since Square is a third-party merchant account provider, accounts can sometimes be subject to funding holds and even sudden account terminations, especially for higher-risk businesses. Customer support is also not as personalized as what you’d get with a true merchant account. Nevertheless, Square is a near-perfect POS solution for many small, low-risk businesses, such as coffee shops, independent hairstylists, small retail shops, and many others.
One of the best things about Square is that the POS carries no monthly charge or hidden fees. You can cancel at any time, and there is no penalty if you stop using the account or only use it occasionally. Even if you have a full POS setup with Square’s proprietary hardware, Square Register or Square Terminal, you can pay for the hardware upfront and still not incur any monthly charge or be railroaded into a contract. Square does have paid add-ons and POS packages with industry-specific packages, but even with these packages, you can cancel at any time with no penalty.
- Free mobile reader (magstripe only)
- Free POS app
- Free online store and virtual terminal
- Sleek POS hardware available (at no monthly charge)
- Competitive flat-rate pricing on all accounts — cheaper than Payanywhere for larger tickets
- True pay-as-you-go pricing with no contract
- Industry-specific packages and paid add-ons available
- Numerous software integrations
- Occasional funding holds and account terminations
- More expensive than Payanywhere in some cases
- Some complaints about customer support
Comparing Square & PayAnywhere Features
Square and Payanywhere both have solid mobile POS features. Square offers more functionality overall, but for some businesses that just need a basic mobile POS, this may not be a sticking point.
Both Square and Payanywhere have simple, easy-to-navigate interfaces that let you accept payments using your Apple or Android mobile device and mobile reader. Both apps have an offline mode that queues transactions if you lose your connection and a virtual terminal option that lets you key in a credit card if you don’t have a physical card to run.
Square and Payanywhere both have onscreen tips and signatures and offer the option to send a virtual or printed receipt. You can also create open tickets, send an invoice, accept NFC payments, or add tips with either app. The execution is a little different, but the apps’ mobile payment-taking features are quite similar. You’ll also have access to a few “back-office” features, such as basic customer and inventory management, on either mobile app.
The primary way the mobile apps differ seems to be their reliability. Payanywhere users say the app is unreliable, crashes a lot, or declines cards for no reason. Square’s reliability does not seem to be a major issue in customer reviews. Though both POS systems can have account stability issues — for example, a funding hold on an unusually large transaction — Square’s mobile app itself is trusty and not as prone to glitches compared to Payanywhere.
Payanywhere and Square each offer a free mobile reader as well as the option to upgrade to a more advanced mobile reader, smart terminal, or POS system. In terms of the mobile Square reader vs. the Payanywhere reader, the two options are pretty similar.
Payanywhere’s free mobile reader connects via Bluetooth and allows merchants to take swiped and EMV (chip card) payments. Square’s free reader is a bit more basic, plugging in via your lightning port or headphone jack, and can be used to accept magstripe payments only. Optionally, you can upgrade to a Bluetooth 3-in-1 reader that accepts magstripe, EMV, and NFC (mobile payments) for $49.95 with Payanywhere or $49.00 if you choose Square’s contactless and chip reader.
The readers themselves are pretty comparable in terms of their functionality, though Payanywhere has more complaints when it comes to readers not connecting. However, it can sometimes be unclear whether the problem is with the reader itself or the app.
Both Payanywhere and Square offer sleek, multifunction smart terminals and smart POS systems. Depending on the model, you can choose from features such as a customer-facing display, receipt printer, and barcode scanner, all in one portable package. Payanywhere does offer more all-in-one hardware systems than Square, but Square is compatible with more mobile devices overall. Also, Payanywhere hardware comes with a monthly fee and an installation fee unless you just use the 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 mobile reader, whereas Square’s hardware carries no monthly fee or installation fee.
- 2-In-1 Reader: Free
- 3-In-1 reader: $49.95
- Smart Terminal Mini (PAX A60): $9.95/month
- Smart Terminal (A920): $9.95/month
- Smart Pinpad Pro (PAX A80 + SP30): $19.95/month
- Smart Flex (PAX E600): $19.95/month
- Smart POS+ (PAX E700): $39.95/month
- Square Reader For Magstripe: Free
- Square Reader For Contactless & Chip: $49.95
- Square Terminal (Portable Smart Terminal): $299.00
- Square Register (POS With Customer-Facing Screen): $799.00
- Square Stand For iPad: $169.00
Payanywhere and Square have solid, if somewhat basic, inventory management features, making it easy for merchants to add, find, and sort items using the app or use the back-end online dashboard for more nuanced functionality. Payanywhere ranks slightly better than Square in terms of in-app mobile inventory features, as the app allows you to look up barcodes using your phone’s camera — Square requires the use of a peripheral barcode scanner to do this.
Note that Square for Retail, which has free and paid plans, has beefed up inventory compared to the standard Square POS app we’re discussing for this comparison.
All Square accounts include a free Square Online Store that allows your customers to order and pay for goods, food, or services online. Customers can order online for shipping, curbside pickup, or pick up at your store.
In addition to an eCommerce website, Square also includes Online Checkout features, allowing you to make sales even before setting up a website. Square lets your customers pay on their own device via a link you text them, order through your social media, or by using a QR code they scan with their phone’s camera. Finally, Square integrates with a number of third-party eCommerce software programs.
Payanywhere doesn’t offer in-house eCommerce or any other in-house integrations for online ordering. The only way to take payments online is if you go into Payanywhere’s virtual terminal website and key in the credit card number manually for a rate of 3.49% + $0.19. By comparison, Square’s processing fee for online orders is 2.9
Payanywhere has very little in the way of customer management, nor does the program integrate with any third-party CRM or marketing software. There’s just a small section where you can enter the customer’s name, email, and phone number.
Square’s CRM system is a lot more advanced, letting you add customers to customizable groups (such as “VIP”) and letting you send a direct message to a customer if you need to follow up about a sale or contact them for any other reason. Square also integrates with the paid Square Marketing add-on and connects with third-party CRM software as well.
Square includes basic employee management with roles and permissions. This functionality is expandable with the addition of Square Team, which includes employee timecards and scheduling. Square Payroll is another paid add-on, which, in addition to payroll, also includes automated payroll tax filings and employee benefits management.
Payanywhere includes employee roles, but that’s about it. If you want an employee time clock or scheduling feature, you’ll have to integrate the software with Homebase.
Payanywhere and Square can both be used as mobile invoicing solutions. You can set up one-time or recurring invoices with either service, and you can send invoices either via the mobile app or through your account’s web dashboard.
The main difference between the two services is the fee: Payanywhere charges 3.49% + $0.19 when a customer pays their invoice by card. Square only charges 2.9% + $0.30 to process invoices.
Square VS PayAnywhere Pricing
Overall, most customers will pay a lot more for Payanywhere vs. Square. But I think the way Payanywhere is able to siphon some of Square’s customers is that the pricing appears cheaper at the outset, at least for a business that processes a lot of small transactions.
I’ll go into more detail below, but the main thing you need to know is that, yes, Payanywhere’s 2.69% flat-rate processing comes out to be a little cheaper than Square’s 2.6%+ $0.10 for small businesses that process many small transactions. However, with Payanywhere, if you process more than $100K/year during any 12-month period, you are automatically switched over into a three-year merchant account with North American Bancard, which has a completely different pricing scheme.
Square charges 2.6% + $0.10 for all in-person payments, whereas Payanywhere charges 2.69% for all in-person payments under its pay-as-you-go plan. This rate makes Payanywhere slightly cheaper for smaller transactions (example: on a $12 transaction, you’ll pay a $0.32 processing fee with Payanywhere and $0.42 with Square) and Square slightly cheaper for transactions larger than about $111. But the differences are negligible.
For online payments and invoices, Square charges 2.9% + $0.30, whereas Payanywhere charges 3.49% + $0.19. With this pricing scheme, Payanywhere works out to be more expensive than Square for purchases larger than about $20. Square also has a virtual terminal option for 3.5% + $0.15.
The two providers’ processing fees really diverge for merchants processing $100K or more per year, which comes out to $8,333/month. Once you sell $100K+/year, Payanywhere starts charging you based on a tiered pricing plan that includes various monthly, annual, and incidental fees. With Square, you’ll be able to keep your same flat-rate processing no matter how much you process. However, large businesses processing $250K/year may be eligible to get a discount.
It’s worth mentioning that if you process more than $15-$20K/month, it’s probably a good idea to get your own merchant account rather than using a third-party processor such as Square or Payanywhere. However, you will be best served by a quality merchant account with competitive interchange-plus pricing, which is not the type of merchant account that Payanywhere can offer you.
Square charges no monthly fee unless you purchase a paid software package or add-on, such as Square for Restaurants, Square Appointments, Square Marketing, etc. But for the purposes of the free Square POS app that we’re discussing in this review, there is no monthly fee with Square.
Payanywhere charges no monthly fee on its pay-as-you-go plan with a basic mobile reader, but if your sales go over a certain threshold — $100K in a 12-month period — you’ll be switched over to the “Standard” plan, which charges a $12.95/month “basic service fee,” among various other fees.
Payanywhere also charges a “monthly software fee” ranging from $9.95 to $39.95/month if you opt to use a smart terminal or POS system instead of the 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 mobile reader.
Here’s where it gets a little hairy. Square is super upfront about which fees it does and doesn’t charge and how much they are. And there aren’t many of them. Square does not have a chargeback fee, a monthly minimum fee, an inactivity fee, or any other hidden fee.
PayAnywhere, on the other hand, charges various fees, many of them undisclosed. For example, Payanywhere does not disclose whether it has a chargeback fee. Here are some fees Payanywhere does disclose:
- $3.99/month inactivity fee if you don’t use your Payanywhere account for 12 months
- $79.00/month monthly minimum fee if your monthly credit card sales fall below $5K on the Standard plan
- $295.00 early termination fee if you terminate your Standard plan before three years
- $500.00 account closure fee if you terminate your Standard plan before three years
As far as I can tell, there is no monthly minimum on Payanywhere’s pay-as-you-go plan, but you do have to use the app at least once within a year so as not to incur the inactivity fee.
Payanywhere charges a 1% fee for same-day fund transfers to your bank account, while next-day transfers are free. Square charges a little more (1.5% for instant and same-day transfers; next-day is free), though if you have a Square Card, you can access your funds immediately for no additional charge. Also, with Payanywhere, a same-day transfer must be submitted by 10:30 AM Eastern Time/7:30 AM Pacific time, making this feature essentially unusable for West Coast businesses. Meanwhile, if you have same-day transfers set up with Square, you can receive your money instantly, 24 hours a day.
Ease Of Use
Both Payanywhere and Square are easy to use. Either app is easy to set up and start using. But as mentioned, Payanywhere users may run into problems after installation that make the app glitchy or unusable to process transactions. So in that regard, Square is easier to use. Both apps also have easy-to-use interfaces, but I think Square’s is more intuitive if I had to choose.
Customer Service & Support
Payanywhere has a customer support telephone number, email address, live chat, and an online knowledgebase. No hours are listed for the phone number or live chat functions.
Square offers live customer support from 6 AM to 6 PM Mondays through Fridays and email support outside of those hours. Square also has a knowledgebase and really good community forums.
Though they have similar support channels, the quality of Square’s customer support is superior to Payanywhere’s. This is based on numerous user reviews and complaints. Payanywhere users frequently report generic responses to their tech problems, though the company does seem to respond to all complaints. The superior quality of the online resources for Square vs. Payanywhere is also evident.
Reviews & Complaints For PayAnywhere VS Square
Neither service has terrible reviews, but it’s safe to say that the reviews for Square are better than those for Payanywhere. There are also a lot more online reviews for Square than there are for Payanywhere since Square is a much more widely-used app. Overall, Square has a rating of 4.8/5 in the App Store out of 246,000 ratings; Payanywhere’s score is 3.5/5 with just 373 ratings. In Google Play, Square rates 4.3/5 with 128K votes; Payanywhere rates 3.8/5 with just a little over 4,000 votes.
As follows are some common complaints about Payanywhere vs. Square:
Common Payanywhere Complaints
- Glitchy app crashes or declines payments for no reason
- Slow or unhelpful customer service
- Sneaky hidden fees and charges (e.g., inactivity fee)
- Deceptive advertising — many users didn’t realize they’d be switched over to a three-year merchant account
- Funding freezes and sudden account terminations
- Difficulty canceling a free account
Common Square Complaints
- It can be hard to reach customer service
- Basic features compared to more advanced POS systems
- Funding freezes and sudden account terminations
There are also positive reviews for both services, with most focusing on the programs’ ease of use. Some Payanywhere users also praise the service for being cheaper than Square.
Square’s integrations are much more comprehensive than Payanywhere’s. Payanywhere only integrates with two programs: QuickBooks and Homebase. Square integrates with pretty much any business software you can think of, plus it has an open API for developers to make their own integrations.
The Key Differences Between PayAnywhere & Square
The key differences between Payanywhere and Square are simple:
1. Pricing Structure: Payanywhere charges a 2.69% flat fee on all transactions unless you process more than $100K/year. In that case, you’ll be switched over to tiered pricing. Square charges 2.6% + $0.10 on all transactions, regardless of how much you process. Unlike Square, Paynywhere also charges a lot of hidden fees.
2. Contract: Square is fully pay-as-you-go with no contract or commitment. Payanywhere has a contract-free option for small-volume merchants but switches merchants who process more than $100K/year to a three-year merchant services contract with an early termination fee.
3. Customer Support: Square’s customer support is easier to reach and more helpful in resolving issues than Payanywhere’s support. Square also has more online support resources for its users.
4. Reliability: Both in terms of the card readers and especially concerning the app itself, Payanywhere has quality issues that can cause the service to crash or glitch. Square does not suffer from these same issues.
5. Features: Square has a more extensive feature set compared to Payanywhere. In particular, Square includes eCommerce features and numerous software integrations.
Which Is Best For My Business Needs: PayAnywhere Or Square?
For most small businesses interested in mobile processing, Square is the clear choice when it comes to these two products. However, there are some situations where you might decide on Payanywhere instead.
Choose PayAnywhere If…
- You have a reason not to use Square (e.g., Square canceled your account)
- You will use the account regularly but will process well under $10K/month
- You will under no circumstance process more than $100K in a year
- You just want to use the basic mobile reader with your mobile device
Choose Square If…
- You want to be able to process as much as you want without paying a monthly fee or entering a contract
- You want the option to not use the account without incurring a fee
- You want to use a smart terminal or full POS system with no installation fee or monthly fee
- You want to sell online as well as in-person
- You want to integrate your other business software
PayAnywhere VS Square Comparison: The Final Verdict
Square and Payanywhere are mobile POS systems that appear similar, but if you scratch the surface a little, you’ll find that these products are quite different indeed.
Square is a giant in the world of POS and increasingly aims to be everything to everyone, offering everything from business loans to credit cards. However, its original mobile POS is still quite simple: no-contract, flat-rate mobile processing with no monthly fee and relatively basic feature-set.
Payanywhere claims to offer those same services, but there are a lot of caveats, making the product only a good deal for a business that just needs basic mobile processing and processes many small transactions totaling less than about $8,000/month. And even if that describes your business, I’d still recommend using Square unless you have a specific reason not to (for example, Square terminated your account).
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Payanywhere is not the only Square alternative out there. PayPal Here offers 2.7% flat-rate processing, which is less than Square’s rate for small transactions, and it won’t steer you into a merchant account like Payanywhere. Check out The Best Free Credit Card Readers For Small Businesses for some more ideas.