Stripe, PayPal and Square are payment service providers, or PSPs, that help small businesses accept payments in person and online. Stripe may be best for small businesses that prioritize customization, and PayPal may be better for small businesses with an international customer base. But if price is key, Square may be your winner.
Here’s how the three companies compare.
Stripe is a popular payment service provider that allows small businesses to accept credit cards, mobile wallets, ACH payments and more. There are a lot of ways to integrate Stripe into your e-commerce site because it’s built with developers in mind. It also provides a payment terminal for in-person card transactions if you have a brick-and-mortar store.
Stripe supports global transactions, can process over 135 currencies and supports multiple languages, including Chinese, Spanish, French, Dutch and Italian; this can be valuable for small businesses that want to expand overseas. Stripe’s services work with major e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Magento.
Stripe has two primary payment processing products.
Stripe Connect can process over 135 currencies and complete transactions in over 30 countries. Connect is highly customizable, letting small businesses control signup, onboarding and payout timing, and get financial reporting. Pre-made user interface components exist, or you can customize everything using the Stripe API.
Stripe Checkout streamlines checkout on mobile via an API that creates a Stripe-hosted payment page. It works across desktop and mobile, as well as with Apple Pay and Google Pay, and you can customize the buttons and background color. Discounts, sales tax and email receipts are also supported. It works in over 25 languages.
PayPal lets small businesses accept and process payments in person and online. It offers two payment gateway services: PayPal Payments Standard and PayPal Payments Pro. PayPal’s services work with major e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Wix and Shopify.
This product may be best if you don’t have coding experience or a developer on your team, as you’ll simply need to copy and paste a line of code or install a plug-in that works with your existing shopping cart. Either option should only take 15 minutes, according to PayPal’s website.
This is a customizable checkout solution that also provides access to a virtual terminal so you can accept credit cards online, via mobile or with devices that don’t have an external card reader. Also, you can accept payments in 25 currencies from 200 countries, accept phone payments, and get simplified PCI compliance.
Square may be known best for its point-of-sale software and its little white tile that plugs into checkout systems, but Square is also a payment service provider. It works with credit cards, debit cards, corporate cards, prepaid cards and reward cards.
Card payment acceptance with the Square app is available only in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. It doesn’t support payment card processing in U.S. territories, nor does it support cross-border card payments (i.e., you can’t receive card transactions if you’re outside the country where you activated your Square account).
Square integrates with Wix, BigCommerce, GoDaddy and other e-commerce platforms. The company’s APIs allow for customization. Businesses can also invoice customers digitally and take card payments without using the Square POS.
In addition to using its POS hardware systems for in-person payments, Square can process payments three ways.
Square offers online payment services that you integrate into your online store or mobile app. You can also get a free e-commerce website and add pickup and delivery services or sell on social media.
Square lets small businesses create and send digital invoices to customers, and those customers can then pay with a card or via ACH. You can also send customers a payment link by text or email.
If you need to take a payment over the phone and key-in the information, you can do that with Square’s app or by using its Virtual Terminal.
Here’s how these providers compare on monthly fees and transaction fees.
Stripe may be your best option if you want customizable software at a relatively low price. But if a simple setup is more important, you may want to go with PayPal. On price alone, Square may be tough to beat.