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Stripe vs. Square: An Overview 

Looking for a good payment processing solution for your business that caters to both retail and online sales?

When it comes down to it, there really isn’t a whole lot to choose from that cover both types of transactions. At least, the best options are leagues better than the rest. 

Which is ironic, since every ecommerce– and many other– businesses online needs one to operate.

That’s why most businesses that need a digital payment processor look to one of two big hitters: Stripe and Square.

Which is better? Where do they each excel, and which is best suited for your business? 

Below, we’ll dive into the details and cover everything from pricing to features and deliver the final verdict on which is likely a better fit for your business. 

But first, check out the 10,000-foot overview below if you want to get a quick comparison summary: 


Stripe Overview

Stripe is known as being a super developer-friendly payment processor.

It isn’t the easiest to set up if you’re new to ecommerce or digital sales in general. 

However, Stripe does offer a comprehensive set of features that allow you to do just about anything you’d want with a digital payment processor. 

Best for: Those who are a bit more tech-savvy and want more robust developer features.


Square Overview

Square is an easy-to-use digital payment processor and point-of-sale (POS) system. Meaning you can take payments at a physical store and also accept payments online using the square platform. 

If you’re not tech-savvy and need a solution that’s easy to use right out of the box, Square makes it about as easy as can be to get set up and start taking payments. 

They offer a free website with Square payment processing already built-in, simple and straightforward POS terminals as well as their Square Reader for accepting in-person payments, and other ready-made solutions. 

Best for: New or solo business owners who aren’t tech-savvy and want something simple and easy + brick and mortar businesses needing an easy to use point-of-sale system. 

Before we dive into the details, it’s worth mentioning that both Stripe and Square:

  • Offer competitive transaction fees
  • A comprehensive service that does the job it’s supposed to
  • And great customer support

No matter which you go with, both will be able to do the job if all you’re looking for is a dependable digital payment processor. 

However, each has a niche that allows them to expand beyond that central service to offer more.

With that quick summary out of the way, let’s dive into the details.

First, let’s start with pricing. 

Stripe vs. Square: Pricing

In terms of pricing, Square and Stripe couldn’t be more similar, though there are some notable areas where they differentiate that are worth noting.

Here’s the breakdown:


Stripe pricing

Both Stripe and Square are equal in terms of online credit card transaction fees at 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

Similarly, in-person transactions are virtually equal at 2.7% + 5 cents for Stripe and 2.6% + 10 cents for Square.

However, where Stripe differs is in ACH and recurring transactions.

Stripe charges 0.8% per ACH debit transaction, at a $5 cap, while charging just 2.9% + 30 cents per recurring transaction.

Square pricing

While similar in online credit card and in-person transactions, Square differs from Stripe in recurring and most notably ACH transactions.

Square has a higher percentage on recurring transactions, though a lower flat fee on top of it at 3.5% + 15 cents per transaction.

However, where Square stands out most is in ACH transactions, as they don’t charge a fee, unlike Stripe. 

Pricing: the verdict

All-in-all, the pricing grid for both Stripe and Square is incredibly similar.

However, if you have a large number of recurring transactions, Stripe is the marginal winner. 

Similarly, if you process a large number or size of ACH transactions, Square is the obvious choice. 

Stripe vs. Square: Features

Next, let’s dive into both Stripe and Square’s features and see where each excels (and which has the features most relevant to you).

Here’s where each stands out: 


Stripe features

While both Stripe and Square offer comparable digital payment services, when you look a little more closely, they diverge in a few key areas. 

Unmatched developer tools

When it comes to Stripe, their stand-out characteristic is their unmatched developer features.

Stripe gives developers and business owners who want (or need) to customize their payment gateway the tools to do exactly that, with things like custom checkout options and UI tools. 

This first point is the most notable differentiator for Stripe, and it’s a big one, but Square has a few other notable features aside from this. 

Such as…

24/7 Phone support

One surprising feature Stripe offers that Square doesn’t is full 24/7 phone support for all customers. 

In an age where most modern digital-focused startups seek to nudge customers with sophisticated AI chatbots to their knowledge base of common questions and answers, Stripe goes the opposite direction and offers unrivaled support to its customers in the form of (gasp) real live people. 

A diverse range of payment methods

Another place where Stripe is the clear winner is in payment methods.

Stripe has gone out of its way to offer an extensive list of payment options, from various credit cards to countless digital payment methods, ACH, and digital wallets such as Apple and Google Pay.

Square features

So, where does Square stand out from Stripe? 

Where Stripe is perfect for developers and power players who want more and diverse features to let them create things like custom checkout experiences, Square is the king of ease of use (among other things). 

Super user friendly

Where Square makes a name for itself is in how easy it is to use. 

While Stripe gives users numerous toys to play with to customize and build out, Square’s service is clearly built for the opposite: to offer the best out-of-the-box and user-friendly experience possible.

Everything from their payment gateway templates to their free and ready-made online store makes getting started a breeze for any business owner who is new to accepting digital or in-person payments, all while doing so safely and professionally.

Free POS software

To bounce off the first point, Square also makes getting started with in-person payments simple and easy.

How? By offering free point-of-sale (POS) software that is plug-and-play ready. 

This pairs nicely with the ease of setting up digital payments with Square, making for an all-in-one digital + physical payment system that can be set up within a single day. 

Did we mention their USB and full terminal devices are stylish? Definitely not your typical retail checkout terminals. 

Verdict: Stripe vs. Square– Which should you choose? 

So, which should you choose: Stripe or Square?

The question mostly comes down to two things:

  1. How tech-savvy you are, and
  2. Whether you need a point-of-sale (POS) system

If you need a digital payment processor with a POS system, Square makes getting set up to take in-person payments incredibly easy and efficient. 

If you’re in need of a dependable digital payment processor with lots of potential, especially if you are or have a developer, Stripe has the most robust features. 

Stripe is also ideal if you need to set up a way to collect recurring payments from your customers. 

However, if you’re not tech-savvy and aren’t looking to do anything custom– in other words, you just need a reliable way of accepting payments online and/or in person, and to do it easily right out-of-the-box– Square is a perfect fit.