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Square vs. PayPal Here

Compare tools and pricing for two big names in on-the-go payment processing popular with small businesses.

While Square may have pioneered point-of-sale (POS) payment processing in 2009, it’s not the only fish in the pond. PayPal Here launched in 2012, equipped with its own card reader and app to accept mobile payments. Both payment services have similar price points per transaction, but the extra features set them apart.

How do Square and PayPal Here compare?

Which should I choose?

Choose Square if you’re a small business processing less than $250,000 annually

Choose PayPal Here if you’re a small business that needs a mobile POS.


A good option for merchants that need a full hardware lineup.

A good option for venders that want a straightforward, standard POS system.


  • Payment processing
  • POS software
  • POS hardware
  • Inventory tracking
  • Website builder
  • Shopping cart software
  • Payment processing
  • POS software
  • POS hardware
  • Inventory tracking

Processing fees start at

2.6% + 10¢ for payment processing, POS software included

2.7% per transaction

Contract required?



Processing time

Next day

Same day with a linked PayPal Business Debit Mastercard

High-risk merchants accepted?




  • Clear-cut pricing. Square’s website breaks down it’s pricing for its products and services, so you know how much you’re paying for each feature — including add-ons.
  • Free e-commerce solution. Access its free online store-building software to design your e-commerce website.
  • No contract. Square offers monthly billing with no contract and no cancellation fees.
  • Upfront costs. PayPal’s website openly lays out its fees for domestic and international purchases.
  • User-friendly software. Customers praise Paypal Here’s intuitive, easy-to-navigate software.
  • Quick sign up. Start accepting touch-free payments right after signing up. Your free reader is shipped to you.


  • Limited tech support. Square support is not available on the weekends or between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. PT.
  • Transaction holds. You may run into transaction and account holds, especially for high-risk transactions.
  • Limited international availability. Card payment is only accepted in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and the UK.
  • Basic services. PayPal Here is built as a mobile processing solution, without customer loyalty programs or marketing extras.
  • Transaction holds. With no dedicated merchant account, you’re more likely to experience transactions and account freezes.
  • Fees for non-US cards. PayPal charges the standard fee, a currency conversion fee and an international transaction fee for global sales.


  • Installment plans. Customers can break up the cost of big-ticket items into monthly payments.
  • Integrated POS system. Sync your orders and inventory data across your online and physical stores.
  • Invoicing. Send invoices and payment reminders from the Square Invoices mobile app.
  • Business debit card. Get immediate access to transaction funds by linking a Square business debit card.
  • Customer loyalty programs and gift cards. Create reward programs and offer gift cards online and in person.
  • Invoicing. Send customizable invoices and estimates to bid on a job.
  • Record transactions. Track your sales within the app.
  • Inventory. Adjust inventory from your mobile device.
  • Manage employee access. Customize employees’ roles and permissions for payment handling.
  • Calculate tax. Use GPS location to calculate local tax rates.
  • Tip generator. Suggest tip amounts for service-based transactions.
  • Discounts. Manage discounts and coupon codes.
  • Reporting. Get shopping insights and track sales performance with built-in analytics.

BBB letter rating



Trustpilot rating



Based on 3,129 reviews

PayPal Here does not have a Trustpilot page

Reputation and customer reviews

Reviews are mixed while some customers praise a smooth onboarding process, others complain about difficulty getting in touch with its support team.

Reviews from Google Play and the App store are mostly positive. Customers praise quick transaction processing, while others complain about software login errors.


  • Phone. Call 800-474-3398, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., PT.
  • Email. Fill out a secure online form from your Square account
  • Phone. Call 855-787-4340 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., ET.

Square vs. Paypal Here hardware

When comparing these providers, you’ll want to take a careful look at the hardware they offer. Square — famous for its signature white card reader — has a solid lineup of proprietary hardware, while PayPal integrates with a wider sweep of third-party hardware providers.

Card reader

Square Reader for contactless and chip

Square reader for contactless and chip
  • $49
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Accepts chip and contactless payments

Chip and Swipe

Chip and Swipe
  • Free for new PayPal Here accounts
  • Bluetooth
  • Accepts magstripe and chip payments

Card reader with screen

Square Terminal

  • $299
  • Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • 5.6″ touch screen
  • Accepts magstripe, chip and contactless payments

Chip and Tap

Chip and Tap
  • $79.99
  • Bluetooth
  • Accepts magstripe, chip and contactless payments

Small countertop POS

Square Stand

Square Stand
  • $169
  • Connects to an iPad
  • Accepts magstripe, chip and contactless payments

Third-party options

Logos of Touchpoint, Lavu and Vend
  • PayPal doesn’t offer a proprietary register, but it works with third-party POS providers, including Vend, Lavu, TouchPoint, Brightpearl and Yahoo Small Business.

Countertop POS

Square Register

Square Register
  • $799
  • Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • Merchant-facing and customer-facing screens
  • Accepts magstripe, chip and contactless payments

Third-party options

Logos of Touchpoint, Lavu and Vend
  • PayPal doesn’t offer a proprietary register, but it works with third-party POS providers, including Vend, Lavu, TouchPoint, Brightpearl and Yahoo Small Business.

Magstripe-only card reader

Square Reader For magstripe

Square Reader For Magstripe
  • Free for eligible merchants (first reader)
  • Plugs in to a headphone jack or Apple Lightning port
  • Accepts magstripe payments


Bottom line

Square can help you manage your small business if you need a variety of payment-processing platforms on an integrated POS system. But if you’re only looking for a streamlined on-the-go POS system, PayPal Here may be a better option.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between Square and Squarespace?

Square is a payment processing service, while Squarespace is a website building tool.

What does Square report to the IRS?

It depends. Square issues a 1099-K to the IRS when you have at least $20,000 in gross sales and process over 200 transactions in a calendar year.

What role does my tax ID number play to use PayPal Here?

A tax identification number is not required to activate a PayPal account. But PayPal may ask you for your tax ID number when you come close to 200 transactions so that it can report your earnings to the IRS

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