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Stripe vs. Square: Which is Better for Your Business?

As an online business, convincing customers to purchase your products is only the first step. You’ll also need a way to accept and process those payments.

Fortunately, payment service providers and payment processors can perform much of the heavy lifting for you. With the right provider in place, you can sit back and watch the profits roll in.

In this post, we’ll help you decide whether Stripe vs Square is the right payment service provider for you. We’ll talk about the platforms’ features, benefits, and any hidden costs that you need to know. Let’s get started!

Stripe vs. Square: An Overview

Both Stripe and Square are payment service providers. Sometimes known as merchant service providers, these are third parties that help sellers accept and process payments. 

Stripe is a white-label online payment service that you can customize to reflect your branding and desired checkout experience. It combines the functionality of a merchant account and payment gateway in one. Its ultimate aim is to provide a seamless payment processing service. Ideally, your customers won’t even realize they’re using a third-party provider: 

Stripe payment processing home page

Today, Stripe is used by over three million websites and has a 16 percent market share in the payment processing category. Furthermore, its users are spread worldwide, as Stripe is currently available in 46 countries.

Meanwhile, Square initially specialized in in-person payment solutions via an iPad Point Of Sale (POS) system. In 2016, the company branched out and launched its own online payment solution. This online system was a success, and over 75,000 websites currently use Square:

Stripe payment processor home page

Furthermore, Square has a 1.1 percent market share in the payment processing category. This makes it the ninth most popular payment solution.

Both offer comprehensive and robust customer support for merchants. But let’s dive into the details for each payment processing serivce.

Stripe vs. Square: Setup

There are several ways to add Stripe to your WordPress site, including using a plugin. You’ll find several approved plugins on the official Stripe website:

Stripe integrations with WooCommerce, MailChimp, and more

If you’re using the WooCommerce platform, you may want to consider the WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway. This plugin enables you to accept payments directly via Stripe’s API:

WooCommerce and Stripe integration

Alternatively, you can create a Stripe payment link. You can then either add this URL to your site or share it with your customers directly. When the consumer clicks on this link, it will launch the Stripe checkout page:

Stripe checkout page

All of these methods are relatively straightforward. However, if you want more control over the payment experience, it’s possible to dig into the underlying code using Stripe Elements. However, this tool requires technical knowledge. Using it is also significantly more time-consuming than generating a payment link or installing a WordPress plugin. 

You can set up Square using a supported plugin if you’re a WordPress user. There are several options available, but WP EasyPay can process payments in the U.S, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the UK:

WP EasyPay payment processor plugin for Square

If you’re using WooCommerce, there’s also a dedicated WooCommerce Square plugin. This software supports both WooCommerce Subscriptions and WooCommerce Pre-Orders:

Square checkout page integrated on WooCommerce pre-orders

If you don’t have a website, you may want to consider using ​​Square Online Checkout. You can use this service to create a ‘Buy Now’ link. This URL will send your customers directly to the Square checkout page:

Square's Web Payments SDK

Furthermore, if you want greater control over the checkout process, Square has a Web Payments SDK and a server-side Payments API. This API enables you to create a custom, Stripe-powered solution for your eCommerce site. However, this approach requires a significant amount of technical knowledge. 

Stripe vs. Square: Features

Stripe is notable for its sheer variety of supported payment methods. These include everything from Microsoft Pay to Alipay, Bacs Direct Debit, Giropay, and Klarna. 

The Stripe payment platform also offers in-depth financial reporting via Stripe Sigma. You can use this tool to perform detailed data analysis. 

For example, you can identify the customers most likely to churn this year and the geographical locations that contribute the most to your bottom line:

Stripe Sigma platform for financia reporting

When it’s time to collect payments, Stripe Billing uses flexible payment logic. It enables you to process everything from one-time fees to recurring payments and even per-seat pricing and metered billing. 

To help you streamline the billing process, Stripe also offers automated failed payment emails and an automatic card updater:

Stripe Billing features for invoices and subscription

Similarly, Square accepts a range of payment methods. These include all major credit and debit cards, plus Square eGift cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. The company also offers Square Pay for easier checkout, enabling shoppers to save their payment information for future use. 

Unlike Stripe, Square offers POS software. You can use this application to perform essential tasks such as inventory tracking and managing your employees. 

If you run a brick-and-mortar store, you can also use the POS app to accept offline payments, which is another feature that’s unique to Stripe: 

Square app for App Store and Google Play

Fraudulent activity can quickly eat into your profits. With this in mind, you’ll likely be happy to learn that Square uses advanced machine learning to spot and block payment fraud. Moreover, the company doesn’t charge a transaction fee for refunds and chargebacks.

Benefits of Stripe and Square

Stripe’s primary benefit is the sheer number of payment methods that it supports. This flexibility could be significant if you’re selling to an international audience. 

The popularity of different payment methods can vary dramatically depending on geographical location. For example, 82 percent of online shoppers in the US prefer to pay by credit card or debit card payments. This statistic is in stark contrast to European shoppers, as 80 percent of these customers would rather use a provider such as PayPal or Alipay. 

Stripe supports several types of payment methods where users can make mobile payments with these supported credit card brands include:

  • American Express
  • Discover & Diners
  • Mastercard
  • Visa

By offering more options, you increase your chances of supporting your customers’ go-to payment methods. This can be great news for your conversion rates.

Meanwhile, much of Square’s value lies in its ecosystem. If you don’t already have an eCommerce store, you can use Square Online to create a professionally designed site and accept payments. 

You can manage your eCommerce business from a single location by opting for Square as your payment provider and store builder. For example, you can access integrated shipping labels, track your inventory, and market your products all from one place. 

Square’s in-person payment option us also beneficial. These platforms include the POS application and the Square Contactless Card Reader:

Square Contactless Card Reader

This free Square reader works with the Square Point of Sale (POS) application to accept payments on your smartphone or tablet. If you run a brick-and-mortar store in addition to your eCommerce venture, this may be a major reason to opt for Square over Stripe payments.

Stripe vs. Square: Cost Comparison 

Square offers a free starter plan. If you opt for this plan, you’ll only pay a processing fee when you make a sale, charged on a per-transaction basis. However, if you deliver physical products to your customers, be aware that Square charges 50¢ for in-house delivery and $1.50 for on-demand delivery. 

Several paid plans range with a monthly fee ranging from $12 per month to $72 per month when billed annually. These packages include added extras, such as a custom domain, support for PayPal, and discounted shipping. 

Additionally, before the funds are transferred to your bank account, Square deducts a processing fee. The amount will vary depending on payment type, but you can expect to pay anything from 2.6 percent plus 10¢ to 2.9 percent plus 30¢. 

Square typically charges higher transaction fees for manually entered transactions due to the greater risks associated with these payments. If you accept these transactions, it’s important to consider the increased deductions when deciding whether Square is suitable for you.

Meanwhile, Stripe charges a 2.9 percent plus 30¢ fee for every successful card charge. It also has a list of miscellaneous fees that you may want to review. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these amounts if you accept international payments or funds via direct transfers.

Online store owners will incur an additional 1 percent fee for international cards, plus an extra 1 percent fee if a currency conversion is required. Stripe also charges a $1.00 fee per ACH Credit payment, $8.00 per wire payment, and a 0.8 percent fee for ACH Direct Debit, with a cap of $5.00. 

Stripe vs. Square: The Best Choice for Your Business

Both Stripe and Square are robust, secure platforms with plenty to offer online sellers. However, some characteristics make them better suited to certain businesses.

To start, its variety of supported payment methods makes Stripe a good choice for organizations that target international customers. The broader your target audience, the more likely you will encounter different payment methods. These may include some obscure platforms that other payment providers do not support. 

With its extensive technical documentation, libraries, and APIs, Stripe is also a very developer-friendly platform. While you can use Stripe without access to a dedicated development team, you may be missing out on some of the platform’s more powerful features:

Stripe docs for technical queries

If you have access to a developer or specialist knowledge, there’s plenty of scope to customize the Stripe platform. This makes Stripe a good choice for any business with very specific requirements – and the means to implement them. 

While you can integrate Square with an existing site, managing your online store is much more convenient when using the platform with Square Online. For this reason, Square is an excellent choice for anyone looking to create a brand-new store.

Furthermore, with its range of in-person payment solutions, Square is ideal for a small business or brick-and-mortar types of businesses looking to expand into eCommerce. By opting for Square, you can manage all your physical and digital payments using the same technology.

Conclusion 

Processing an online payment or in-person payments can be complicated, especially for a small business. That’s why so many successful businesses rely on the services of a payment processor or a payment gateway to streamline operations.

If you’re currently torn between Stripe and Square, then let’s quickly recap these two popular providers: 

  1. Stripe: A developer-focused provider that supports a wide range of payment methods for international customers. 
  2. Square: With in-person payment options and a complimentary website builder, Square is perfect for brick-and-mortar business owners looking to expand into eCommerce.  

Choosing the right service provider is only part of running a successful online store – your hosting provider also has a huge role to play. By opting for specialist WordPress eCommerce hosting, you should have no problems convincing customers to hit that ‘Buy Now’ button!

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