Square VS PayPal
|✓||Products and Services|
|✓||Fees and Rates||✓|
|✓||Sales and Advertising Transparency||✓|
|✓||Customer Service and Technical Support||✓|
|Read Review||Read Review|
Whether you’re looking for an online payments solution, an mPOS app, or an-all-in payment processor, odds are very good you’re going to come across PayPal and Square in your research. They are, after all, hugely popular tools for merchants, and these days they have very, very similar feature sets and pricing. So how do you go about picking a winner in the Square vs. PayPal debate?
While yes, these two companies are very similar in many respects, once you have an idea of what features you need, what features you would like to use, and even what integrations you need, it becomes a lot easier to make a decision. PayPal is, well, ubiquitous. It’s a household name among consumers, and there’s a lot of advantages to accepting PayPal for online payments. It makes sense, therefore, to take advantage of the rest of PayPal’s assorted merchant services.
Square doesn’t have quite the status that PayPal does, but it does have a very large user base of merchants and a reputation as being the go-to for small businesses. And these days Square even has its own consumer wallet solution similar to PayPal’s. Square has an extensive feature set, including some capabilities that exceed PayPal’s.
All things considered, PayPal will still make the most sense as an option for some merchants, especially those whose focus is online sales. But for anyone who is waffling between the two, or anyone who truly wants the most bang for their buck, should look at Square. Read on for a more detailed look at how PayPal vs. Square stack up!
Our Top Picks For Credit Card Processing
Table of Contents
Products & Services
One of the challenges in comparing platforms such as PayPal and Square is that they are so massive and include so many different services. The best approach is to break them down into similar categories, so where we’ll look at how PayPal vs. Square stacks up in regards to the following:
- mPOS Apps
- Online Payments
- Invoicing & Virtual Terminals
We’ll also talk briefly about some of the tangential aspects of using Square and PayPal, including developer tools.
An Overview of Square’s Services
|Free App & Reader||Square eCommerce||Square for Retail||Square for Restaurants|
|Get Started||Get Started||Get Started||Get Started|
|Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and Android||Easy integration with popular platforms plus API for customization||Specialized software for more complex retail stores||Specialized software for full-service restaurants|
|Always Free||Always Free||Free Trial||Free Trial|
Square’s free mobile POS app is called Square Point of Sale (read our review), because obviously the people in charge of names at Square don’t believe in originality in the slightest. It was previously called Square Register, but that name now refers to an all-in-one register setup that we’ll talk more about in the Compatible Hardware section. PayPal’s free mPOS app is called PayPal Here.
As far as core features are concerned, you’re going to get the same experience from both. That includes:
- Accept all forms of credit
- Keyed transaction support
- Record cash transactions
- Issue full and partial refunds
- Apply Discounts
- Item library with product descriptions, images, and variants
- Barcodes and SKUs
- Receipt printing
- Receipts via email/SMS
- Cash drawer support
That said, Square’s app is very nearly a full-fledged POS, with more advanced capabilities than PayPal Here. Two notable areas where Square beats PayPal Here are inventory management and offline mode. Square’s inventory management tools allows you to track quantities in the mobile app, set low-stock alerts, and even bulk-upload your inventory. You can also adjust stock to account for returns, damage, theft, etc. However, multi-location inventory management requires a subscription to Square for Retail, one of Square’s premium iPad POS apps. The customer database allows you to associate a purchase with a specific customer (which also links up with loyalty and marketing) and even access a stored card on file to complete a transaction rather than requiring a customer to present their card. It’s also possible to track sales and activity at different locations.
PayPal Here, sadly, doesn’t have any of these features. However, it does have on advantage: you can create up to 1,000 free sub-user accounts so every employee or volunteer or helping hand can have their own login. To be able to issue employees their own unique logins within Square you need to enable employee management, which comes at a monthly fee per account.
Both Square POS and PayPal Here operate on iOS and Android phones and tablets. However, PayPal Here is also compatible with a select number of Windows devices, as well.
As for card readers, both companies offer a selection of devices. So let’s take a moment to look at the options.
PayPal, like so many other companies, used to offer a free magstripe reader that connected via the headphone jack. That’s no longer the case, and if you want a reader it will cost you $15. However, opting for the magstripe reader will also place limits on your account:
*Sales over $500 in a 7-day period made with the Mobile Card Reader are subject to an automatic 30-day reserve where funds are held in your PayPal account to cover the high risk associated with these types of transactions.
If you don’t want to encounter this problem, you’re better off going with one of PayPal’s chip card readers. The Bluetooth-enabled Chip and Swipe Reader sells for $24.99 and even comes with a mounting clip to attach it to your phone or tablet. If you want to be able to accept contactless payments, the Chip and Tap Reader sells for $59.99 and supports all three payment methods. You can get it with the charging dock for $79.99. Check out our unboxing review of the Chip and Tap reader for a more detailed look.
PayPal’s final card reader is also the first one it rolled out: the Chip Card Reader, a re-branded Miura M010 that PayPal sells for $99. I’ve reviewed this device previously (Square and Shopify have also offered their own branded versions of it), and I do like it quite a bit. It’s also worth noting that if you opt to integrate PayPal with a POS system such as Vend, this is the reader you must use.
Square, for the moment, still offers a free magstripe reader with no limitations on processing. However, you should absolutely look into getting a chip card reader, as it will protect your business against liability for fraudulent swiped transactions. Square’s Chip Card Reader connects via headphone jack and accepts EMV and magstripe transactions. If you want a Bluetooth enabled device, Square has the Contactless + Chip Reader for $49. It doesn’t accept magstripe transaction but you will get a free magstripe reader included in the purchase. You can get a dock for it for an additional $29.
Square has two additional noteworthy pieces of hardware. The Square Stand, which sells for $199 and includes the Contactless + Chip Reader and the dock, is one of the devices that makes Square so recognizable. The sleek swivel stand affordable price makes it an attractive option.
If you want something a bit more sophisticated, there’s the Square Register. It comes at a much higher price tag ($1,000) but it’s quite an elegant machine. Square Register is a custom Android tablet with a 13.25-inch display and a 7-inch customer-facing display with integrated card reading capabilities. Square Register also includes a different processing rate than standard Square POS transactions. Instead of 2.75%, you’ll pay 2.5% + $0.10, which could translate to savings, but only for merchants with an average ticket exceeding $40. You can check out our review of the Square Register for a more in-depth look.
One thing that makes Square very competitive for small businesses is its financing. You can put any hardware purchase above $49 (yes that includes the Contactless + Chip Reader) on a payment plan, and Square’s markups are very reasonable.
Finally, PayPal Here and Square both accommodate a variety of receipt printers, cash drawers, even barcode scanners. And depending on what you need, you can get a pre-assembled bundle of hardware directly through Square. You’ll save over buying each item individually, but prices vary depending on what equipment you want.
PayPal started its life as an online payment processor, and really that’s still the core of its business. Square has only recently begun really beefing up its ecommerce offerings, and I think that shows.
Square first made waves with its free online store — an easy way to get started with ecommerce. You can still get the online store, though it’s almost painfully basic with a plug-and-play design that doesn’t even allow you to customize colors. However, Square is pushing people toward its integration with Weebly (read our review), which the company bought in the spring of 2018. If you don’t like Weebly, Square does support other integrations. The one thing you won’t see with Square is the ability to create payment buttons, or donation buttons for nonprofits. The only way to do this would be to bring in a developer to create a solution for you. Beyond that, Square doesn’t offer a lot of customization in the checkout process, either.
PayPal doesn’t offer a free website but there’s a pretty extensive list of ready-made third-party integrations that are compatible. PayPal also offers a pretty powerful set of tools to create custom payment buttons for purchases. You can also create donation buttons and allow donors to choose whether to make a one-time or recurring donation. Like Square, PayPal doesn’t offer a lot of customization in the checkout process (or, well, any)…unless you opt for the PayPal Payments Pro plan, which costs $30 a month. It includes hosted checkout pages as well as the virtual terminal, but will require a developer to implement.
It’s also worth noting that you can implement PayPal in addition to your existing payment processor using PayPal Checkout. Again, you’ll need a developer to implement this option, but Checkout uses contextual information to display to customers the option to checkout with PayPal, Venmo, or even PayPal Credit, without you having to lift a finger.
Invoicing & Virtual Terminals
Square and PayPal both offer invoicing as part of their standard feature set. There’s no charge to send an invoice; the only fees you pay are the processing fees (2.9% + $0.30). Their feature sets are incredibly similar, though you may not find them as advanced as some of the paid invoicing software solutions out there.
With Square‘s invoicing feature you can generate custom invoices with your logo and business information, and attach photos and other files. You can also create templates with saved messages that include your terms of service. You can also schedule recurring invoices and even allow your customers to store their cards on file for easier billing down the line. Plus, Square allows you to add discounts, sales tax, and even a spot for customers to add a tip to their payments. You can pull customers from your existing customer database, as well as products from your inventory. Recent additions to the Square lineup of features include the ability to request a downpayment on an invoice as well as to offer installment payments.
For businesses that rely heavily on invoicing, Square also offers downloadable contract templates for a variety of industries, and a few tailored to home improvement in specific states. You don’t need a Square account to access these, which I think is a classy move.
PayPal’s invoice creator also lets you create custom designs with your logo and business information. You can add files such as photos, include terms and conditions, add notes for your clients, and even create a memo to yourself if you want to make a private annotation. You can add discounts, sales tax, and tip, plus allow for partial payments. The most notable difference between PayPal and Square is the lack of integrated customer database and linked inventory, as well as the inability to store cards on file. However, you can request downpayments on invoices and enable partial payments so customers can pay off the invoice over time.
And then there’s the virtual terminals. I need to point out that to access PayPal’s, you need to upgrade to PayPal Payments Pro, which will cost you $30/month on top of processing fees, so unless you plan to use the virtual terminal frequently, this may not be a good option for you. Square’s virtual terminal, on the other hand, is totally free and syncs up with the rest of Square’s tools (such as the customer database and stored cards on file).
I think Square and PayPal are well matched in terms of invoicing. Square’s customer database feature and inventory are helpful and put it ahead of PayPal, but only if you plan to use those features anyway. The free virtual terminal is a mark in favor of Square — but again, only if you plan to use the feature. Still, a virtual terminal is a good backup if you don’t have a card reader handy and need to accept a payment without an invoice.
The mPOS app, the online payments, and invoicing/virtual terminal reflect the core PayPal and Square offerings, but they’re not the only one. So let’s look quickly at some of the additional features you get access to:
- Developer Tools: I’ve alluded to this somewhat already, but Square and PayPal both offer a suite of developer tools to create custom online payments integrations for businesses. However, you can do a lot more than just that. Both platforms have opened their mobile POS apps up with SDKs so that you can power your branded mobile apps with a trusted, reliable, ready-made solution. That includes the mobile card readers, too. Square also offers APIs for its inventory tools, reporting and analytics, and back-office management, as well as online and in-app payments. PayPal’s additional developer tools include invoicing and subscription management and an easy mass-payout tool. Its marketplace tools are new and still very limited, but that could change. All of this is pretty powerful, but it’s still not quite at the level of some of the most developer-friendly platforms out there (such as Stripe or even the PayPal subsidiary Braintree).
- Merchant Financing: Need some capital for new hardware, inventory, or, well, any of the numerous expenses that business owners encounter? Both PayPal and Square now offer their own financing programs for eligible businesses. However, they shouldn’t be your go-to sources, as you may have other, more competitive options
- Reporting: Both Square and PayPal offer an array of reports that you can run and monitor your business. I’m inclined to think that Square offers a better platform for reporting than PayPal, but I also don’t think that reporting features should be the deciding factor in choosing a payment processor unless all other matters are totally equal.
All in all, the general consensus from merchants is that Square and PayPal are both fairly easy to use, and their features are adequate for most merchant needs.
A Note About Square Cash and PayPal.Me
Square Cash is one of Square’s many products, but it’s rather disappointingly the only one that doesn’t work seamlessly with the rest of the Square suite. It was designed to compete with PayPal’s consumer wallet, a way for friends to transfer funds to each other. The app has come quite a long way since its inception, and now it also provides a way for merchants to accept payments, too. Customers can send funds in the Cash app using Cashtags (essentially your user name, preceded by $), or they can go to a website page linked to your cashtag: cash.me/$cashtag and send funds that way. However, the Cash app doesn’t allow for inventory or sales reports or any of the Square features you might be accustomed to. In addition, your funds and your business are completely separate from a standard Square account. On the other hand, I am happy to say you can finally send your Square funds to your Cash balance, in addition to sending Cash balances to a designated bank account. The fee structure is still 2.75% per transaction.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Cash as a supplement to your business simple because of the lack of compatibility, but if you need a “Square Lite” or similar solution it could work for some small businesses, or even nonprofits looking for an easy way to accept donations. For a more detailed look at Square Cash for businesses, I recommend checking out our Cash app review.
A major reason why PayPal works so well is that it powers digital wallets for some 250+ million people worldwide. PayPal really blurs the line between consumer and business products. But that’s a good thing, because unlike with Square Cash there’s a massive amount of interoperability. For example, I can send money to my friend’s business PayPal account to reimburse her for, say, buying movie tickets or lunch, and mark that transaction as “friends & family,” which would exempt it from the business fees. Likewise, she can send me money to my personal account in exchange for doing some menial tasks for her (stuffing envelopes with marketing materials) and mark it as “goods & services” without me needing a business account.
PayPal’s also taken inspiration from Square and introduced its own PayPal.me pages, which work identically to the Cash.me pages. Unlike Cash, however, PayPal’s implementation is seamless with the rest of PayPal’s features.
While these are interesting features, you shouldn’t consider them a core function of either company. Just know that Square Cash doesn’t work the same for consumers as PayPal does, so if you’re looking to appeal to customers with digital wallets you should choose carefully.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Both PayPal and Square offer an assortment of add-ons and integrations. PayPal seems to have opted to partner with many other companies rather than develop software solutions of its own, which means apart from the virtual terminal and recurring billing, you can’t get add-0n products directly from PayPal.
Build Your Webstore Quickly & Easily
Integrate With Popular eCommerce Software
Developer-Friendly Tools For Customization
Instant Account Setup
2.90% + $0.30 for online sales
Instant Account Setup
2.90% + $0.30 for online sales
Instant Account Setup
2.90% + $0.30 for online sales
PayPal’s list of supported integrations includes a variety of ecommerce providers, from shopping-cart software to self-hosted solutions, as well as POS and accounting integrations. You’ll also find form builders and other business-focused integrations, plus event management, email marketing, and invoicing/billing.
This is different than using Square, which will basically act as your primary control for just about every aspect of your business if you want it to. Square offers several of its own add-ons for merchants who want a seamless experience, starting with employee management ($5/employee/month), payroll ($5/employee/month), marketing (starting at $15/month) and loyalty (starting at $25/month). Gift cards are available for the cost of purchasing the card stock (starting around $2/card for small orders) and any processing fees at time of purchase.
As far as third-party integrations, Square also offers POS, ecommerce, and accounting integrations, as well as solutions for invoicing, time-keeping, inventory management, and industry specific solutions for healthcare, event management, and restaurants.
If the free mPOS apps aren’t to your liking, both PayPal and Square offer some alternatives in the form of third-party integrations. You’ll find that both integrate with Lavu, TouchBistro, and Vend, for example. They also both have some integrations unique to each company. As far as availability of POS integrations, I feel like the companies are fairly evenly matched. However, it’s worth mentioning that PayPal has negotiated exclusive rates for Vend merchants, which might make PayPal + Vend more attractive than Square + Vend for some merchants.
In all, while Square’s list of supported integrations isn’t as large as some other options out there (coughStripecough), it is more varied than PayPal’s. I don’t think that PayPal is limited. I would call it “carefully curated,” if anything. You have a robust suite of tools out at your disposal with PayPal. Square is more open and flexible in its partnerships and allows more centralized control for different aspects of your business beyond payment processing.
Did you know that PayPal integrates with Vend POS?
|PayPal + Vend POS|
|Advanced POS software|
Easy credit card processing integration
|Get Started For $0|
And don’t forget, both Square and PayPal offer APIs for custom integrations if you need something that isn’t on the list of ready-made integrations, though you’ll need a developer to put in the work.
Fees & Rates
Square and PayPal offer similar prices for credit card processing using their free apps. Neither service charges any regular fees beyond those incurred per transaction, though with both you can opt for add-on services. Here’s what you’ll pay:
- Swiped/dipped/tapped: 2.7% for PayPal, 2.75% for Square
- Online and invoiced transactions: 2.9% + $0.30
- Keyed entry: 3.5% + $0.15
That’s some pretty fair pricing, and the lack of a per-transaction fee for swipes makes it favorable to low-volume businesses and small-ticket merchants. The 0.05% difference in price for swiped transactions is very marginal savings, almost negligible until you get to very high volumes.
Additional PayPal Costs
- Hosted Payment Page and Virtual Terminal: $30/month
- Recurring Billing: $10/month
- Micropayments Plan: 5% + $0.05
- Mass Payouts: 2%
- Nonprofit Discount Rate: 2.2% + $0.30 for online transactions
- Chargeback Fee: $20
Additional Square Costs
- Virtual Terminal: No monthly fee
- Recurring Invoice/Card on File: 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction
- Chargeback Fee: None
If you want a more in-depth discussion of each company’s pricing, check out our articles, How Much Does Square Charge? and The Complete Guide to PayPal’s Fees, Rates & Pricing.
I do want to point out that PayPal’s micropayments option is a really good option for merchants who sell digital goods valued at less than $10, and Square has no comparable alternative. (Square in general isn’t a particularly flexible option for digital merchants.) Also, PayPal charges $30/month for its virtual terminal, and another $10/month for recurring billing, which is a hefty price tag considering Square offers a free virtual terminal and no monthly fee to use its recurring invoice function. However, you don’t really get subscription management tools like PayPal’s recurring billing, either.
One other interesting feature to note: Square charges no fee at all for chargebacks, and even offers merchants up to $250/month in chargeback protections for qualifying purchases. I haven’t seen this kind of feature implemented anywhere else, but I do like it, because chargebacks are awful and everyone knows that.
Also, whereas PayPal focuses on its integrations with POS apps, Square has developed its own niche specific advanced POS systems with their own subscription costs and different processing rates:
- Square for Retail: $60/month per register per location, additional registers $20/month; 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
- Square for Restaurants: $60/month per register per location, additional registers $40/month; 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- Square Appointments: Individual plans $0/month, 2.75% per transaction; 2-5 employees $50/month + 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction; 6-10 employees $90/month + 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
All these work with the rest of the Square suite of products, too, which is obviously a big advantage.
A big advantage to PayPal is how quickly your money is available: Any mobile payments you accept are available almost instantly in your PayPal account. That means if you have the PayPal business debit card, you can spend your money right away. There are no fees to use the debit card, but you can also transfer funds to your bank account. Non-instant transfers are free, but can take up to 3-4 business days (1-2 is more common). In my experience, PayPal typically deposits money in my bank account the next business day. You can also initiate instant transfers for 1% of the transfer amount. (Square offered this first, for the record.)
Square sends its payments to your bank account within 1-2 business days, depending on when the payment was processed. Payments taken before 5 p.m. Pacific time are available the next business day; payments made after 5 p.m. Pacific time are available the second business day. However, you can also initiate an Instant Deposit for 1% of the transferred sum. However, as of January 2019 Square has also implemented its own sort of digital wallet for merchants — if you order The Square Card. When you get your own card, Square automatically begins accumulating your funds in a wallet that you can access with your MasterCard-backed debit card. The Square Card has no fees and you can still manually transfer funds to your linked bank account.
The pricing for Square and PayPal’s core features — the mPOS and eCommerce suites — are virtually identical, and pricing for supplemental services only matters if you intend to use them. There are so many variables and possible combinations of services that it’s hard to say which would be less expensive. So if you plan to go for any of the add-on services, run the numbers for yourself and make sure you’re getting the best value.
Contract Length & Cancellation
One of the advantages to both Square and PayPal is that you have no contracts, no monthly fees, no termination fees. If you don’t like either service, just stop using it and find another one. You can’t get a better deal than that.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
In general, both Square and PayPal deliver what they claim to offer: an effective payments solution with up-front pricing and no hidden fees. Costs and features are generally clearly laid out and easy to understand and you don’t have to deal with pushy sales people.
That said, both services could spell out some policies out more clearly. Specifically, the unexpected funding holds are a point of contention for merchants, who understandably want their money as soon as possible. There are no standardized limits on transaction sizes, though it seems larger than average transactions can trigger reviews of an account. Neither company spells out any other criteria that can trigger a hold or explains clearly what to do to prevent it. (If you want to know what behaviors and actions to avoid, check out our article, How To Avoid Merchant Account Holds, Freezes, and Terminations.)
As far as other transparency concerns, you’ll find both PayPal and Square have active social media and social media support channels too. I would expect no less from these two companies. But I think Square is putting out a lot more content to help merchants get the most from their Square accounts.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Neither Square nor PayPal is going to be winning any major awards for the quality of its customer support. In fact, both can be quite spotty, much to the dismay of merchants. Square has invested a lot lately in its customer support channels and improving the overall quality. PayPal, meanwhile, focuses on being more flexible and supportive of merchants. But there’s one rather large disadvantage in choosing both of these companies, which we’ll get to.
Square support options include:
- Help Center: Very thorough and detailed, covering just about any topic you might need. If you’re having trouble setting up or using your Square account, start here and all your questions should be answered.
- Social Media: Square’s support Twitter feed (@SqSupport) is active (though not as active as PayPal’s), and its YouTube channel is full of instructional videos. Square even allows you to post directly to its Facebook page, something it previously hadn’t allowed.
- Phone & Email Support: The biggest flaw in Square’s phone support is that it’s only available if you have a code, which some people have reported having trouble getting. If your account is terminated, you lose all access to phone support. Square generally strives for a 24-hour turnaround on
- Seller Community Forum: Get advice from other Square users as well as from Square staff on this growing forum. I’ve personally found the forum to be a great resource when I have questions about some of Square’s features.
PayPal Here support goes through the main PayPal system. Again, you can pick the option that suits your needs:
- PayPal Hub Home: Start here to get all your questions answered. The help center is organized by topic, with FAQs you may have.
- Social Media: Facebook and Twitter. Specifically, tweet @AskPayPal Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. central time, and they’ll go find you an answer.
- Phone & Email Support: The online consensus about PayPal’s phone support seems to be that the service is inconsistent at best. Fortunately, most of the answers you need are available through the help desk, community forum, or social media.
- PayPal Community Forum: Get answers from other PayPal users. PayPal’s forums are active with extensive archives, which is no surprise given how many PayPal users there are and how long the company has been around.
Both have a lot of options for support. For most technical questions (“how do I…”), you should be able to use the self-help or community options and get an answer. However, the problems usually start to arise when a merchant encounters a hold.
Both companies will typically request a variety of documents relating to your business and/or a specific transaction. You don’t have many options except to comply and provide as much information as you can to verify your processing history and transactions. Sometimes you can get the matter cleared up quickly — PayPal seems to be more forgiving in this regard.
And then of course there’s the worst-case scenario: an account termination. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if this happens to you. Both companies’ user agreements say they can terminate an account at any time with no justification.
Most complaints about Square and its customer service actually stem from account terminations. When it happens, Square shuts merchants out of the phone support system, which is an endless source of frustration, to be sure. You’ll get an email, with no reasoning and no chance of appeal. Complaints about quality of service for active merchants who have questions are getting to be less common.
PayPal’s complaints are a bit more of a mixed bag, but spotty phone service is a key issue. Some sales reps can help. Others can’t. It does not appear that PayPal locks merchants out of phone support after a termination, though I also haven’t seen proof that calling can help get your account reinstated, either. But if you need assistance and everything else fails, you can usually get help through the BBB, which well get into in the next section.
It’s tough to call a clear winner here because each has different strengths. However, you should take heart in knowing you can get clear and fast answers to most technical issues from either company, usually without ever having to talk to anyone.
Speaking of complaints, however…
It probably won’t be a massive shock to learn that the comments from actual merchants about Square and PayPal are pretty similar. They’re very similar services with nearly identical pricing and the same sort of limitations, after all.
The major thing I need to point out is that Square and PayPal are both third-party payment processors, which means you as a merchant are always dealing with a certain amount of risk as far as account stability. If PayPal or Square flags a suspicious transaction, they may place a hold on your funds, or in a worst-case scenario, terminate your account entirely. You can mitigate your risk by learning how to prevent account holds and freezes. But if you’re not willing to take the change, a traditional merchant account may be a better option for you.
This kind of account stability risk does mean there’s, well, a lot of complaints about both Square and PayPal regarding the sudden terminations or holds on funds. In fact, it’s the single most common complaint for both companies. However, while the numbers can be overwhelming I need to point out that the total number of complaints is still a very, very small percentage of the overall user base. Check out our article on negativity bias to learn more about how we process and analyze user reviews.
In addition to the complaints about holds and terminations you’ll also see the occasional complaints about the quality of customer service. From what I have read, a lot of these complaints tend to relate to holds and terminations, but not all. I generally believe PayPal and Square try to provide good customer service, even if they sometimes fail in the execution, especially concerning account terminations. The good news is that with the exception of account-related issues, you can often find the answers to questions without having to contact either company directly.
But let’s get onto the good stuff:
Square merchants seem to love how centralized the entire platform is for managing their business, and how portable it is. This is a big draw especially for businesses that don’t have a physical storefront (photographers, for example), who can accept credit card payments wherever they’re working rather than relying on cash or check. They also seem to generally like the pricing — specifically the lack of monthly fees.
Merchants seem to love the ubiquity of PayPal, and how easy it is to accept payments online and in person. They say PayPal is generally easy to set up and they appreciate the lack of monthly account fees. Many of the comments I’ve seen focus on the online payments aspect of PayPal, but generally speaking users seem to be happy with the PayPal Here mPOS as well, and they like being to accept credit card payments wherever they’re working.
Hey, I did say that the user reviews for both companies were pretty similar.
I don’t want to say that Square is the unequivocal winner in the Square vs PayPal debate. PayPal does make sense for some merchants. Merchants who primarily focus on online sales and sell through multiple channels (such as eBay) might enjoy the ubiquity of PayPal and access to a global customer base with digital wallets. It’s nice to have an all-in-one platform that allows you to receive payments from multiple channels in the same account. And of course, PayPal does offer a nonprofit discount for online transactions and the ability to create a donation button with on-time and recurring donation options.
But there are plenty of reasons to look at Square, too. For one, Square’s payment processing rates are on par with PayPal’s, with no monthly fees or contracts to worry about. Second, Square actually offers more advanced features than PayPal in some regards, and it doesn’t charge any monthly fees for use of its virtual terminal or recurring invoice features. Two, Square offers a huge assortment of add-on products to centralize management of your business, as well as an extensive array of ready-to-go integrations and a suite of developer tools. It really is a tremendous value wrapped up in an easy-to-use package.
If you’ve already made the choice between Square and PayPal, what was the deciding factor? If you’ve used both, which do you prefer and why? We’re always happy to hear from merchants, so if you’ve got wisdom to share or even a question to ask, drop us a comment!
Our Top Picks For Credit Card Processing