Stripe vs. Square: A Comparison of Payment Platforms for Small Businesses

Mantis Funding July 14, 2023

Choosing the right payment platform is critical for small businesses seeking efficient and reliable ways to process transactions. Two prominent options in the market are Stripe and Square, both offering a range of features and integrations tailored to the needs of small businesses.

Here, we will compare the key aspects of Stripe and Square, including pricing, online and in-person transaction capabilities, recurring billing and subscription management, customer support, and more.

What is Stripe?

Stripe is a straightforward online payment platform that enables customers to have a quick and easy checkout experience on your e-commerce site. Stripe’s physical offerings include a dedicated POS terminal and a handheld terminal, similar to Square, for multiple credit card readers, including integrated readers.

While Stripe offers businesses physical POS systems, the company primarily focuses on the online arena. Stripe provides a fantastic solution for online businesses that offer their products and services internationally or domestically. Using their online platform, business owners can easily accept payments from customers internationally who use different currencies.

Among Stripe’s other perks are integrations with many third-party applications and extensive onboarding documentation to help business owners harness the platform’s full potential. Overall, Stripe is the perfect choice for companies with an international audience who primarily conduct business online.

What is Square?

Square is one of the biggest names when it comes to POS solutions for businesses and has been a popular choice for companies of all sizes since the late 2000s. Square is particularly good for smaller, local storefronts because of its user-friendly POS hardware and dedicated apps.

Unlike some of Stripe’s offerings, business owners and employees can easily use Square without guidance from a developer. Square has many powerful employee and business management tools ready to use out of the box, making it easy for businesses to integrate them into their daily operations and streamline how they accent card payments.

On the downside, Square cannot accept many of the same currencies Stripe is currently capable of.

Overall, Square is ideal for smaller brick-and-mortar businesses that require an affordable POS solution that’s easy to use right out of the box. New users even get a free physical POS terminal for signing up. For e-commerce sites that primarily conduct their business online with international customers, Stripe might provide a better variety of options.

Online vs. in-person transactions

Stripe and Square both have pricing structures that are transparent and easy to understand. For online payments, Stripe and Square charge a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

However, Stripe charges another 1% processing fee on international charges and an additional $15 fee for disputed credit card payments. One benefit of using Stripe is that, unlike Square, Stripe does not charge any monthly fees or extra charges for accepting mobile payments via Google or Apple Pay.

Square is cheaper if you primarily intend to use it for in-person credit card payments. Their in-person charge fee is just 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction.

Square also gives new customers their first card reader at no charge, while an additional card reader costs $10. Stripe’s first card reader is a flat $59. POS terminals, however, start at $299, which is more expensive than Stripe’s at just $249.

Overall, Square is ideal for small businesses that primarily accept payments at a brick-and-mortar location. Local businesses should take advantage of Square’s low up-front costs for equipment starting and look into other options like revenue-based financing to help get their business off the ground.

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Recurring billing and subscription management

Stripe’s developer tools make it an attractive option for businesses that have a developer readily available. Among its developer tools are a branded and custom UI toolkit that provides businesses with flexibility and customization options. However, Stripe’s initial setup is typically more challenging as it relies more heavily on third-party tools.

However, third-party integrations are also one of Stripe’s greatest strengths. Many online businesses prefer Stripe because of its compatibility with platforms like Squarespace and WooCommerce. With these integrations, business owners can integrate their existing tools with Stripe Billing and other applications to expand their functionality. This makes it easier for Stripe users to collect recurring payments and manage subscriptions.

On the other hand, Square is much easier to use for users who may not have a technical background. Regardless of what you’re using Square for, whether on the web or in a physical location, Square’s straightforward setup process allows you to quickly get up and running.

While Square offers fewer integrations by comparison, it compensates by providing its users with robust POS software, often negating the need for additional third-party integrations for some businesses.

Customer support and resources

Square and Stripe provide their customers with a variety of support options to help them set up their POS systems and troubleshoot any potential issues.

Despite it being a bit more complicated to set up, Stripe more than addresses this with their expansive customer service offerings. Stripe’s customer service features include a live chat, 24/7 phone support, an in-depth educational blog, and a knowledge base.

While Square is more straightforward to use out of the box, it offers fewer customer support options than Stripe. While Square does feature a live chat, an educational blog, and an expansive knowledge base, it lacks 24/7 phone support. The lack of phone support may prove challenging for business owners who prefer having someone walk them through troubleshooting over the phone versus a chatroom.

Stripe vs Square: A Side-by-Side Comparison


Feature Stripe Square
Online Payments Straightforward fee: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction Same fee as Stripe: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
In-person Payments 2.7% + 5 cents per transaction
(2.6% + 10 cents for Square)
2.6% + 10 cents per transaction
International Payments 1% additional processing fee N/A
Disputed Payments $15 fee for chargebacks N/A
Monthly Fees No monthly fees Possible monthly fees for e-commerce store functionality
Mobile Payment Options No extra charges for Google Pay or Apple Pay 3.3% + 30 cent fee per transaction with Google Pay or Apple Pay
Card Reader/Terminal Cost $59 for first card reader, POS terminal starts at $249 Free first card reader, additional reader costs $10
Recurring Billing/Subscriptions Integrations for recurring payments and subscription management Easier setup and robust POS software, fewer integrations
Developer Tools Branded and custom UI toolkit Straightforward setup, suitable for users without coding expertise
Customer Support Live chat, 27/7 phone support, educational blog, knowledge base Live chat, educational blog, knowledge base (lacks 24/7 phone support)
Comparative Features of Stripe and Square Payment Platforms

Stripe and Square offer valuable features and solutions for small businesses to enhance their payment processes and expand their reach. Stripe provides a robust online payment platform, making it an excellent choice for companies operating primarily in the digital space, especially those with an international customer base. With its integrations and developer tools, Stripe empowers businesses to customize their payment experience and efficiently manage recurring billing and subscriptions.

On the other hand, Square shines as a user-friendly POS solution, particularly suitable for brick-and-mortar establishments. Its affordable hardware, intuitive interface, and powerful management tools make it a go-to option for small businesses looking to streamline their in-person payment operations. Square’s all-in-one POS software eliminates the need for extensive third-party integrations, simplifying the setup process for non-technical users.

No matter which platform you choose, it’s crucial to explore additional resources to support and fuel your business growth. One such resource is revenue-based financing with Mantis Funding. Our expertise in providing tailored financial solutions can assist your business in accessing the capital it needs to expand and thrive. No matter how you decide to accept your payments, remember that Mantis Funding is here to support you with revenue-based financing. Contact us to take the next step toward growing your business with this valuable financing option!

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About Mantis Funding

Mantis Funding is a business financing solutions firm catering to small and mid-sized business owners in the United States.