Payment Gateways, Comparisons

Square vs Stripe – All you need to know (2020)

Rosie Greaves | Updated:



Square vs Stripe has always been a tough decision. It’s safe to say; finding a solution to help you take and receive customer payments can be tough. 

The stats speak for themselves; 42% of online shoppers prefer to pay using their credit cards.

With that in mind, you need to find a payment platform that enables you to do precisely that. So we’re going to review two of the best on the market; Stripe and Square- so you can make a more informed decision.

Let’s dive in!

Square vs Stripe: When to Use?

To kickstart this comparison, we’re going analyze when to use either of these softwares. The table below highlights the primary similarities and differences:

square vs stripe
Square Stripe
Accepting in-store credit cards Taking enterprise-level payments both online and via apps.
Accepting funds via a mobile device Developers can craft tons of customized payment checkouts, multi-seller platforms, subscription plans, etc.
Taking online payments
Invoicing clients and customers
Tools to manage your sales, inventory, payroll, and marketing tasks
The ability to add cash registers
The opportunity to launch a FREE online store


Square: 9 out of 10

Stripe 8 out of 10

Pricing is always a key concern when it comes to settling on any new software.

Square Pricing

The primary cost of utilizing Square is the credit card processing fees. One of the best things about Square’s pricing structure is that there isn’t a fee to set up an account or to cancel it.

You also don’t have to shell out monthly payments to access either Square’s payment processing services or their basic POS solution.

However, you’ll have to pay for Square’s:

  • More advanced tools
  • Optional add-ons
  • Their flat-rate credit card processing fees

These fees are just a tiny percentage of each sale you make plus a small per-transaction fee.

Below are Square’s three main credit card processing fees:

Transaction Type Processing Fee
Online sales 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction
In-store and mobile purchases 2.75% per transaction
Sales via a virtual terminal 3.5% and 15¢ per transaction

Is that everything?

Well, no.

Square also provides you with a free credit card reader and POS solution. You just need to connect this to either a smartphone or tablet and log in to your free Square account- and you’re good to go!

So, for most small business owners using Square, they only have to budget their credit card fees.

However, if you’re a larger enterprise, you’ll need to buy a few pieces of hardware.

For example-

  • A checkout register
  • A cash till
  • A more sophisticated credit card reader

Luckily for you, Square offers several cost-effective options. One of which has a payment plan, so you don’t even have to part with a crazy lump sum.

Check out the cost of Square’s hardware in the chart below:

Hardware Cost
Contactless and Chip Card Reader. (Compatible with smartphones, tablets, and the Square iPad register stand) $49
iPad Register Station (compatible with iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 9.7, iPad 4, iPad 5th gen) $169 for the stand and contactless chip card reader. To add an iPad, it will set you back a further $498
Square All-in-One Register$999 (one off payment), or $49 per month for 24 months PLUS: in-person credit card processing fees fall to as little as 2.5% and 10¢ per sale
square pricing

Stripe Pricing

Like Square, the fees associated with Stripe are tied in credit card processing. Likewise, there isn’t a cost to register an account, and there aren’t any cancellation fees.

Unlike Square, Stripe only has one rate for card processing. This is because they namely accommodate online payments.

Whereas, unlike Square, Stripe doesn’t offer you anything in the way of:

  • In-person POS software
  • Mobile card processors
  • Checkout register hardware

However, if you need to handle offline payments, small business owners can use Stripe’s credit card and ACH/check to process the transaction.

You’ll also have to source third-party hardware that’s compatible with Stripe. Needless to say, this is a sizeable added cost.

Stripe users can expect the below rates:

Payment Method Processing Fee
Online payments 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction
ACH and e-check payments .80% capped at $5 per transaction
International payments +1%

Payment Methods Accepted

Stripe: 10 out of 10

Square: 7 out of 10

Square Stripe
Accepts all major credit cards Ditto
Takes Apple Pay Ditto
Accepts Android Pay Ditto
Accepts eWallet payments Ditto
Accepts ACH e-checks
Accepts some cryptocurrencies
Accepts Google Pay

As you can see, Stripe beats Square when it comes to accepting a variety of online payments. (Both within the States and internationally).

stripe payment plans

What About International Payments?

Stripe handles real-time currency conversions on your behalf for over 135 international currencies. Whereas, Square doesn’t offer this service. 

With Stripe, global buyers will see the cost of your products and services in their own currency. Yet, due to Stripe’s automatic currency conversion, you’ll still get paid the correct sum of money.

As Square doesn’t auto-convert your currency, your international customers could get charged a currency conversion fee.

If this isn’t made clear when they check out, expect to receive complaints from disgruntled customers.

Stripe also accepts both AliPay and WeChatPay to process international payments. That’s besides expanding the number of cryptocurrencies they accept. All these methods make the facilitation of global payments easier.

To keep up to date with Stripe’s new payment methods, sign up for an email notification. That way you’ll know when they’re launched straight away.

stripe international payments


Stripe: 10 out of 10

Square: 10 out of 10

In short, both Square and Stripe offer you and your customers PCI-compliance. They host their own checkout and handle most PCI compliance issues, so you don’t need to worry about it.

E-commerce Integrations

Stripe: 9 out of 10

Square: 7 out of 10

Both Square and Stripe offer tons of plugins. These can be easily used alongside several of the best e-commerce platforms on the market.

They also provide web developers with powerful and open API tools. So, if you’re a coding whizz, you can use these resources to customize your payment integrations, checkout pages, and cart templates, etc.

However,  Square does offer a free and fully functioning digital store. Which their software is unsurprisingly, 100% compatible with- which is something Stripe fails to provide.

Still, it’s worth noting that Stripe complements virtually every digital sales platform. This includes- e-commerce solutions, mobile and web apps, subscription websites, and multi-seller marketplaces.

So, if you’re managing an online business, there’s a good chance you can utilize Stripe.
On the whole, Stripe and Square are evenly matched in terms of e-commerce integrations.
However, Stripe just about offers more in the way of customized online payments and in-app payments. This is especially handy if you’re an e-commerce store owner or web developer.

square ecommerce integrations

POS System

Stripe: 0 out of 10

Square: 10 out of 10

Square offers you a free POS solution, which is terrific for anyone wanting to take traditional in-person sales from their customers. This solution also includes a few tools to help you manage your business.

In addition to this, Square enables you to add extra features to help you manage the day to day operations of your business. For example-

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Loyalty programs
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Payroll

You’ll incur a monthly fee for the above services, but not to worry, the rates are incredibly competitive.

Whereas Stripe doesn’t offer any such solution. Instead, you’ll have to research and source the POS services of a third-party. As you go about this, you’ll have to ensure the POS is compatible with Stripe.

Needless to say, you’ll incur extra expenses, for both the software and hardware necessary to utilize your chosen POS solution.

square pos system

Chargeback Protection

Stripe: 5 out of 10

Square: 10 out of 10

Square offers up to $250 worth of chargeback protection each month. So, if one of your customers or clients raises a dispute over a charge, you can claim up to $250 to help you cover the loss.

However, to be entitled to this protection, you’ll have to answer the payment dispute within seven days. You’ll also have to demonstrate you upheld Square’s best practices when it comes to fraud prevention.

Best of all?

Square doesn’t hit you with a chargeback fee. So, if you lose a dispute, you’ll just miss out on the sale (and if you’re eligible for chargeback protection, you might not even lose out on that!)

Unfortunately, Stripe doesn’t offer any kind of chargeback protection in the event of a dispute. However, they do provide a fabulous fraud prevention tool called Radar, to help you protect yourself. This resource comes highly recommended and is well worth utilizing if you’re a Stripe user.

Radar makes the most of machine learning to help its user’s spot sales that are higher risk — that way they can flag, clear, or block, dodgy-looking transactions from the get-go. 

Unfortunately, Stripe implements a $15 chargeback fee every time a customer disputes one of your charges. Although Stripe refunds the $15 if you win the dispute, you’ll be down $15 in addition to the cost of the sale if you lose.

stripe chargeback protection

Comparison #7: Ease of Use

Stripe: 7 out of 10

Square: 10 out of 10

Square and Stripe are both incredibly user-friendly, you’ll tend to find that:

  • The online sign-up processes are both quick and easy,
  • You can enjoy instant access to credit card processing tools.
  • The setup processes are simple, and they provide step by step guides to ensure you know how to make the most of their software.

For example, Square offers its ‘Getting Started Guide’ which is amazing if you get stuck along the way. You can also take a look at Square’s introductory video to help you set up your account.

However, when it comes to ease of use, the most significant difference is that Square allows you to accept credit card payments, both online and offline. Whereas, to receive Stripe payments, you’re forced to connect your Stripe account to another online sales platform.

So, although Stripe’s pretty straightforward to set up and navigate to take online payments, it’s offline functionality is nowhere near as easy to use as Square- as we’ve already said, you’ll have to spend a ton of time and effort scouring through third-party integrations to get them to work.

Customer Service

Stripe: 7 out of 10

Square: 7 out of 10

Unlike Stripe, Square provides a telephone number to reach their customer support team. However, you’ll need to be a registered Square user to access this strand of customer service.

So, if you want to hear from Square before committing to a paid plan, you’ll have to create a free account. This gives you a phone access code that entitles you to Square’s telephone support. At the time of writing, Square’s telephone support is currently open from Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST.

Plus, you can receive Square’s help via email and their social media profiles. They have active accounts on both Facebook and Twitter. 

Whereas, Stripe offers customer’s support via their:

  • Online forums
  • E-mail
  • Social media
  • Live chat feature.

Over on their online forum/ chat community, Freenode, you can get advice from hundreds of other Stripe pros and users.  You’ll usually get immediate answers here, so it’s a pretty useful resource.

Lastly, Square and Stripe have also published top-notch knowledge bases. These are amazing for answering your questions. They tend to break down issues by giving step-by-step instructions. Usually, this makes it easier to rectify any problems you have.

square customer service


Square: 8 out of 10

Stripe: 7 out of 10

As you can see from the screenshot below, Stripe isn’t being searched for as much as it once was by people using Alexa. In fact, there’s a massive dip in popularity.

However, this doesn’t seem to impact their positioning on Google trends. In fact, they look as if they’re growing every so slightly.

Whereas, with Square, we see a massive spike in interest. People seem to be using Alexa to search for Square now more than ever. Plus, their positioning on Google trends shows little to no change.

Stripe Popularity

stripe popularity alexa traffic
stripe popularity google trends

Square Popularity

square popularity alexa traffic
square popularity google trends

You may also like to read: Square vs Stripe – All you need to know

Frequently Asked Questions

How much percentage does Stripe take vs Square?

Square: Online sales: 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction. In store and mobile purchases: 2.75% per transaction. Sales via a virtual terminal: 3.5% and 15 cents per transaction.
Stripe: Online Payments: 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction. ACH and e-check: .80% capped at $5 per transaction. International payments: +1%.

Is Stripe or Square better?

Square is the best for a startup. Stripe is best for online sellers.

Is Stripe owned by Square?


Is Square cheaper than Stripe?

Square is cheaper than Stripe.

Final Thoughts

In answer to the Square vs Stripe, which is better; Square or Stripe, it all depends on the kind of operation you’re running.

Square is usually best if you’re a startup or a growing business embracing multichannel selling. With Square, you can accept payments virtually anywhere, both online and offline. Not to mention, you’ll also get access to an impressive array of business management tools (all for free!)

Whereas, Stripe tends to suit the needs of online sellers. So, if you own a digital store need a cost-effective, easy way to process credit card payments, look to Stripe,

Do you use either of these payment solutions? If so, we’d love to hear all about your experiences, thoughts, and opinions in the comments box below. Speak soon!

Comments: 2

Hello there!
This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my business partner who could not setup our ecom business correctly, ! I wish I had come across this website sooner !

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