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Stripe vs. Square

Two payment processing options with vastly different coding requirements.

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Stripe is a well known payment platform with customers around the world. Square might not be accessible in as many countries, but it has impressive features for a small business. And you don’t need any technical experience to get started.

How do Stripe and Square compare?

StripeSquare
Stripe logo

Read our review

Square logo

Read our review

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Which should I choose?Choose Stripe if you have the technical know-how for website development.Choose Square if you’re a small business with sales totaling less than $250,000 annually.
OverviewA good option for an online store with a global audience.A good option for brick-and-mortar startups launching an online store.
Products
  • Payment processing
  • POS software
  • POS hardware
  • Payment processing
  • POS software
  • POS hardware
  • Inventory tracking
  • Website builder
  • Shopping cart software
Price starts at2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge2.6% + 10¢ for payment processing, POS software included
Contract required?NoNo
Processing time2 business daysNext day
High-risk merchants accepted?NoNo
Pros
  • 24/7 support. Get help 24 hours a day through chat, email and phone.
  • Software integration. Stripe’s payment processing platform works with hundreds of third-party integrations to help you set up your e-commerce store, manage inventory and get analytics.
  • Accept global currencies. Stripe can display prices in the customer’s preferred currency. And you can process over 135 currencies.
  • Free e-commerce solution. Square gives you access to its store-building software to create your online shop and process payments on your new e-commerce website.
  • Full hardware lineup. Square offers on-the-go credit card readers as well as a point-of-sale system for your physical store — software included.
  • Competitive pricing. Square’s in-person payment processing fee has a lower percentage charge per swipe than many of its competitors.
Cons
  • No POS software. Although Stripe has card readers for in-person transactions, its terminals don’t come with any POS software. You’ll have to build your own using Stripe’s APIs and SDKs.
  • No Paypal. Even though Stripe accepts a slew of cards and digital wallets, it’s not compatible with Paypal.
  • Not for high-risk merchants. If stripe considers you business as high risk, like a bankruptcy lawyer or remove tech support service, Stripe could terminate your account.
  • Limited support. Square support is only available on the phone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. Or you can shoot them an email.
  • Payout delays. As part of its “rolling reserve” policy, Square can hold your money for any reason and for as long as it determines reasonable if it considers your transaction risky.
  • Only accessible in a few countries. Payment processing is only available in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and the UK.
Tools
  • Payment options. Stripe supports a plethora of payment methods, including all major credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, Alipay, WeChat Pay and multiple digital wallets.
  • Prevent fraud. Stripe Radar algorithms use Dynamic 3D Secure technology to help you identify and prevent fraud.
  • Reporting. Stripe has built-in reporting tools that allow you to generate financial reports or design a customized report using your accounting data.
  • Manage your account. Your dashboard displays useful at-a-glance snippets of your account activity and in-depth workflows to help you manage your business.
  • Installment plans. Customers can split up the cost of pricier purchases into monthly payments.
  • Integrated POS system. Manage sales and inventory from your online and physical stores using one system.
  • Business debit card. Get instant access to your transaction funds.
  • Customer loyalty programs and gift cards. Set up a loyalty program and use gift cards straight from your POS or online store — no plug-ins required.
BBB letter ratingA+A+
Trustpilot rating

★★★★★

2.3/5

★★★★★

4.8/5

Reputation and customer reviewsReviews for Stripe are mixed. While many customers rave about its smooth onboarding process, many negative reviews cite transaction holds, account cancelations and payout delays, which are common complaints of third-party processors.Reviews are mixed. While many customers praise its knowledgeable and helpful customer service team, some sellers are upset about Square’s policy to freeze funds with little warning.
Support
  • Phone. Stripe doesn’t offer call-in customer service. From Stripe’s contact page, you can request a call 24 hours a day from the customer support team. A Stripe team member should be in touch within three to five minutes.
  • Email. General inquiries can be forwarded to info@stripe.com for a response within one business day.
  • Live chat. Stripe’s live chat is available 24/7.
  • Phone. Call 800-474-3398 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.
  • Email. Complete an online form for a response from the support team within one business day.

Bottom line

Stripe may be a good option for an international business that has technical experience with coding and web development. But if you’re new to e-commerce and looking for a clean, fully integrated system, Square might be the better option — just watch out for its funds reserve policy.

To make sure you’re choosing the right provider, explore other payment processing options for the business solution that suits your needs.

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