Stripe vs. Square: A Comprehensive Comparison of Payment Processors in 2023

Square vs. Stripe

In global payment processing, Stripe and Square are two prominent names that are often compared. While they cater to different niches within the industry, their similar pricing models and all-inclusive approach make them competitors worth considering.

This comprehensive analysis will explore both companies, pricing, features, and the types of businesses that can benefit from their services. By the end of this article, you’ll clearly understand where Stripe excels and where Square shines.

Stripe vs. Square: Ideal For

Stripe: Ideal for merchants with access to developers or strong technical skills, those who sell primarily online, and those seeking a wide range of shopping cart options.

Square: Ideal for merchants with minimal technical skills, businesses that primarily operate in-person but also want an online presence, and those looking for a seamless transition between in-person and online sales.


Both Stripe and Square offer transparent pricing structures, but there are some differences to consider:


  • In-person transaction cost: 2.7% + $0.05 per transaction
  • Online transaction cost: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • ACH transfer fee: 0.8%
  • Monthly fee: $0 – $10 (for custom domain)


  • In-person transaction cost: 2.6% + $0.10 (2.5% + $0.10 with some specialty POS packages)
  • Online transaction cost: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • ACH transfer fee: 1% (minimum $1)
  • Monthly fee: $0 – $69 (for premium services)

Supported Online Payment Methods

Both Stripe and Square support a range of online payment methods, including credit cards, ACH transfers, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Buy Now, Pay Later options. They also facilitate international payment methods, making them suitable for businesses with a global customer base.

Key Features


  • Customizable checkout process
  • Dynamic currency displays and multi-currency support
  • Extensive developer support
  • Reduced fees for non-profit organizations
  • Exceptional subscription tools


  • Free Weebly-powered online store
  • Powerful inventory and customer management
  • Excellent, affordable hardware options
  • User-friendly interface
  • Scheduling and HR tools

Distinguishing Factors

The key difference between Stripe and Square lies in their overall capabilities:

  • Stripe is ideal for organizations that offer international online sales, subscription-based services, and customized transactions because of its extensive eCommerce features.
  • Square provides a seamless experience for in-person and online merchants, making it ideal for brick-and-mortar businesses with an e-commerce presence.

Stripe and Square support credit card payments, ACH transfers, recurring billing, pre-built and customizable checkouts, eCommerce connectors, invoicing tools, developer resources, and loan access.

Pricing Comparison

Let’s compare the pricing details for Stripe and Square:

Pricing Category Stripe Square
Monthly Fee $0 – $10 (for custom domain) $0 – $69 (for premium services)
Online Transaction Cost 2.9% + $0.30 2.9% + $0.30
In-Person Transaction Cost 2.7% + $0.05 2.6% + $0.10 (2.5% + $0.10 with some specialty POS packages)
ACH Payments 0.8% (maximum $5) 1% (minimum $1)
Chargeback Fees $15 None
Invoicing 0.4%-0.5% per invoice Free-$20/month
Refunds No additional charge, but Stripe keeps the original transaction fee No charge

Which Is Cheaper, Stripe or Square?

While both Stripe and Square offer similar pricing models, Square tends to be the more cost-effective option for most small businesses due to its range of free features, including no chargeback fees, free refunds, and a free website.

However, individual costs can vary depending on specific business needs and the utilization of premium features.

Some key points to consider:

  • For in-person transactions, Stripe is cheaper for transactions under $50, while Square is more cost-effective for transactions over $50.
  • Stripe excels in ACH payments and is a better value for businesses that frequently use recurring billing.
  • Square offers premium POS subscription services, which can add to the monthly cost but may save on individual transactions.
  • Stripe mostly eliminates monthly fees and instead adds per-transaction costs for premium features, so businesses should assess whether these features align with their needs.

Feature Comparison

Now, let’s compare the features offered by Stripe and Square:

Stripe Features:

  • Mobile POS: Stripe Terminal
  • Mobile Card Readers: Stripe Reader M2 ($59), BBPOS Chipper 2x BT ($59)
  • Free eCommerce Website
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Invoice Templates
  • Developer Tools and APIs
  • Inventory Management
  • Payment Links
  • Buy Buttons
  • Downloadable Reports
  • Virtual Terminal
  • Recurring Payments/ACH
  • Regional International Payment Method Support
  • PayPal Integration
  • Marketplace Solutions (Stripe Connect, with basic features included and advanced features costing $2/month plus 0.25% + $0.25 per payout)
  • Advanced Security (Stripe Radar, included with standard accounts; otherwise, $0.05 per screened transaction)
  • Loans
  • Gift Cards

Square Features:

  • Mobile POS: Square POS
  • Mobile Card Readers: Square Reader (First one is free, additional readers at $10 each), Square Contactless Reader ($49)
  • Free Weebly-powered Online Store
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Inventory Management
  • Scheduling and HR Tools
  • Industry-specific Software Options
  • Square Appointments (available in free and premium versions)
  • Square for Restaurants
  • Square for Retail
  • Advanced Security (Square Risk Manager for an additional $0.06 per transaction)

Choosing the Right Payment Processor for Your Business

Now that you have a comprehensive overview of both Stripe and Square, here’s a summary to help you make an informed decision:

Choose Square If:

  • You run a brick-and-mortar business with an online presence.
  • You prefer an easy-to-use solution that doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge.
  • You want productivity and management support for your business.

Choose Stripe If:

  • Your business is primarily or entirely online, especially for international eCommerce.
  • You have in-house developers or technical expertise available.
  • You need advanced customization and fine-tuning for online transactions and billing.

In conclusion, Stripe and Square serve as third-party payment processors but thrive in distinct areas. Square, an all-in-one solution for in-person and online sales, is ideal for businesses seeking simplicity and ease.

However, Stripe’s eCommerce features and global appeal make it an excellent alternative for international online sellers and those seeking comprehensive customization.

Comparison and Decision:

When comparing Stripe versus Square, your business’s demands and goals must be considered. Both firms offer strong payment processing systems, but your choice should fit your business strategy and ambitions.

  •         Square is ideal for businesses with physical locations, restaurants, retail establishments, or service providers occasionally using eCommerce. The user-friendly design, industry-specific functionality, and ability to consolidate corporate tasks into one system make it convenient. Square is a great all-in-one solution for in-person and online transactions.
  •         Stripe thrives in serving businesses with a strong web presence and a focus on international markets. Many developer tools and customization options make it excellent for firms wanting to fine-tune online transaction control. Stripe is ideal for online businesses that use several currencies and can use developers.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, Stripe and Square have advantages and suit different enterprises. Your requirements, technical skills, and growth strategies should guide your choice. Choose Stripe vs. Square based on your business’s needs, the team’s technological expertise, and the target market.

Note that Stripe and Square are trustworthy payment processors with transparent pricing, making it easy to swap or test their services to find the best fit for your business.

Remember that the correct payment processing solution may boost productivity, customer satisfaction, and business success. Take time to consider your choices and contact Stripe and Square for help.

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