PayPal Here Vs. Square

PayPal Here Vs. Square

The battle for the micro mobile market heats up as PayPal Here enters the ring in direct competition with Square.

PayPal Here has taken the mobile payments market by storm with a smartphone processing solution that in several ways gets the better of the current market leader, Square.

Boasting live customer support, immediate funding and support for multiple payment channels including free check acceptance, it seems as though Square has some catching up to do despite the company's rapid growth.

If you're considering Square, you will also be interested in our Square review.

See how Square, GoPayment, PayPal Here and others compare using our
Mobile Phone Credit Card Processing Cost Calculator

  Square PayPal Here Advantage
Credit & Debit Card Processing Rates

Swiped: 2.75%
Manually Entered: 3.50% plus $0.15

Flat rate pricing of $275 per month*

Swiped: 2.70%
Manually Entered: 3.50% plus $0.15

PayPal Here Square Tied

A main competitive advantage that has allowed Square to hold the top spot in the mobile processing market has been the company's ability to offer a flat processing rate with no credit card transaction fee. Until PayPal Here, competing mobile solutions relied on traditional merchants accounts often paired with a third-party mobile application like ROAMpay where transaction fees can range upwards of $0.25.

PayPal Here has laid waste to what is perhaps Square's most powerful competitive advantage by entering the market at 2.70% and $0.00 opposed to Square's 2.75% and $0.00. PayPal's deep pockets and established market presence make PayPal Here a formidable adversary, the likes of which Square hasn't yet had to deal with.

Square's latest offering of a flat rate of $275 per month may make more financial sense for some businesses than paying PayPal's 2.70% on volume. However, in typical Square style, the company is oversimplifying the way it's marketing the $275 flat rate. Square has imposed quite a few restrictions that will cause many businesses to pay more than the $275 flat rate. Read about Square's flat rate restrictions here.

PayPal Here had the edge in the pricing battle with its lower 2.70% rate. But now that Square has come along with a $275 flat rate option, the two are neck and neck.

Check Processing Rate Check Processing Not Offered Free PayPal Here

Checks aren't exactly mainstream these days, and the future of the check printing market is looking pretty bleak. But PayPal has been around a while, and the infrastructure to process and settle checks is already in place, so why not add another bullet point to the PayPal Here feature list?

PayPal has added check processing and settlement at no cost to Here's list of features making it literally a free shot at Square.

Start Up Cost Free Free PayPal Here Square Tied

Square and PayPal Here both supply free card readers and apps. The readers for both Square and Here plug in to the microphone of an electronic device.

Customer Service No phone number, difficult/impossible to contact, just an online Help Center Phone number, email support, community support, more PayPal Here

Square's customer service is virtually non-existent, and contacting a representative via phone is nearly impossible. Square seems to think that a simple online Help Center is enough support for its growing user base.

PayPal Here, on the other hand, has all of the support channels you would expect for a company offering credit card processing services. PayPal provides phone, email, and online support for its users. And the company also provides support via a development community.

Credit Check No Credit Check Required Credit & Background Check Required Square

Square will give the ability to process credit cards to virtually anyone. Whether this is a good thing or not is open for debate, but it's a leg up on PayPal.

Many complaints about PayPal Here stem from the credit check and background verification that PayPal requires before issuing a user an account.

Payment Channels
  • Credit and signature debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover)
  • Pay with Square (Formally called Card Case)
  • Credit and signature debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover)
  • Checks
  • PayPal
  • Electronic Invoices
PayPal Here

The main payment channel of both Square and PayPal Here is credit and signature debit (non-PIN) cards. Each company also offers a proprietary first name payment service that displays nearby customers on a vendors payment screen allowing vendors to charge customers by name or image.

Square's service is called Pay with Square, and PayPal Here identifies users through their PayPal account. Both services offer similar functionality, but PayPal's user base is significantly larger. Looking past a somewhat dead heat with first name payment services, PayPal edges ahead with check processing and electronic invoicing.

Funds Availability Next Day Immediate* PayPal Here Square Tied

PayPal Here boasts the immediate availability of funds, and while this is faster than Square's next day funding, Here doesn't deposit funds directly into a user's checking account. Instead, Here makes funds immediately available in a user's PayPal account where they can access for purchases or withdrawn via an ATM using a PayPal debit card.

PayPal Here users that want to transfer funds to their own bank account must initiate a transfer from within their PayPal account, and the transfer process typically takes three days.

Square doesn't make its users jump through a proprietary hoop to get their money. Square deposits funds directly into a user's checking account the next day.

Fraud Protection & Security Encrypted Card Reader, Data Transmission, Etc. Encrypted Card Reader, Data Transmission, Etc. PayPal Here Square Tied
  Although Square hit the market with an unencrypted card reader, the company has since cleaned up its act and both Square and PayPal Here are serious about security and fraud prevention. Both companies provide encrypted card readers and other security and fraud protection features.
Supported Devices iPhone/iPad, Android (Support for Older Devices) iPhone/iPad, Android Square

Although PayPal Here hit the market with support for only iPhone/iPad, the company now supports Android devices as well. Both companies now support iPhone, iPad and Android, but the edge goes to Square for supporting older operating systems.

Square's application will run on the iPhone 3G, but PayPal Here's application is compatible only with 3GS phones and above. Check out Square's supported devices and PayPal Here's supported devices for more information.

Market Availability United States and Canada United States, Hong Kong, Australia PayPal Here

Square hasn't ventured outside of the lucrative U.S. market claiming that, "There is no specific timeline for our international rollout..." Square's U.S. exclusivity likely doesn't affect most users, but those on the northern fringes of the country may be happy to hear that PayPal Here is hitting the market will support for Canada. Less applicable to the U.S. market is Here's support for Hong Kong and Australia.

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128 Responses to PayPal Here Vs. Square

  1. skyy says:

    Doesn’t square have a new app available to send cash and all of the above features combined? I was going to recommend PayPal to a client, but Im looking at the square a little closer. Seems as though Paypal is going to extra lengths not to lose its standing in the industry. Thanks

  2. Dave says:

    Our non-profit org has a three day event in October each year. We did used the Triangle last year for credit and debit card transactions. Anyone have feedback or opinion on which service to use at this point? Dave

  3. Katina says:

    I will be sticking with square. Used Paypal Here today. They held 30 or 33% of each transaction in reserve. I asked her if this happens every time. She stated yes.

  4. Courtney says:

    Which is better for a small non-profit? The more affordable option for occasional donations?

    • Hi Courtney,
      The best processor for your non-profit depends partly on your specific organization’s details. A flat-rate processor may not be the most competitive option. If you’d like to get actual quotes, you can sign up for free at CardFellow.

    • Ron Nims says:

      It doesn’t make any difference whether you’re a taxable or tax exempt entity, what matters is how many charges you have and how large they are. What is your average sale? If it’s under $50.00, then Square or PayPal might be your best deal with the 2.70%/2.75% + $0.15 per transaction. The processor’s costs don’t scale, $0.42 is reasonable on a $10.00 transaction but $27.15 is insanely expensive on a $1,000 transaction. If your average sale is more than $100, shop around.

  5. Christy says:

    I’m a massage therapist and have been using square to process credit cards now for about 3 years and I’ve never been disappointed, but I’ve also never charged more than $500 at a time. It has a beautiful interface that’s easy to itemize and read and categorize everything.

    I know some people are way too impatient with their money but square has really come a long way since I first started using it. You literally get your money deposited into your bank account between 12 and 1am the following day! Obviously with the exception of Sunday’s and holidays.

    I’ve sold items off eBay before and it’s a huge pain having to transfer that money from PayPal to your bank. I have a paypal set up with a reader ready to go but so far have no use or desire to use it.

    The square ready is also a lot more compact. I have the red once where you donate $10 for AIDS. I enjoy being able to personalize my tips and reciepts as well.

    Overall I’m probably biased because I’ve had square so long but I can say I’ve never had a problem with it. The readers are free so if one gets worn out and stops reading cards they basically have a new one to you within the week. I’ve heard too many negative revues of PayPal that my first choice given he option would be to go with square. The extra .05% for processing fees is probably worth it, especially since you’re able to swipe on any card including AmEx with no extra fees.

    Square for me.

  6. JohnWrot! says:

    Processed a large cash sale for multiple “Items” and “Options” with PayPalHere. No record of what items and options were chosen exists or is accessible. I have to call the customer to ask them what they ordered, because PayPal doesn’t record this information for Cash sales. Useless.

    Does Square have the same total-lack-of-forethought factor? For goodness sake, how am I the first person to deal with this? I doubt it, but Paypal Here hasn’t fixed it. Just atrocious.

  7. Bill Tracy says:

    I love Square! The money is in my BANK ACCOUNT the next day! PayPal takes forever and ever to transfer funds to your bank account, especially when you first start using their swiper. They tell you right up front that funds will not be available for a week or more, until you’ve used their system for long enough to prove you’re trustworthy I guess.

    I use Square at location photo shoots and I need the money to be in my bank the next day so I can order prints that customers paid for. This is something that can’t be done with PayPal.

    Square does offer electronic invoices via email, which this review says they don’t – not true!

    I think someone working for PayPal must have made this review, lol

  8. Geoff says:

    Thank you for the comparison!.. as a new small business owner I started with square and I was so annoyed buy the time 3 weeks came along I want to cancel it. You can not talk to anyone live, I can not deactivate my account because apparently it wasn’t working so I tried to set it up as it asked a few too many times so then would not allow me to take cards which is the entire purpose of having a reader. Then I tried to cancel my account because of that. and it would not allow me to I went in and deleted all the inventory tried to delete the account info would not let me and you can’t talk to anyone I can’t de-activate the account it puts you through un-necessary nonsense .. Life and business should not be this difficult. I was debating on Paypal, which was very easy to set up an account was trying to determine a decent reader since I have an online business and mobile business ..

    At least that is what happened to me.. No a good way to start out your business .

    Thank you for information it was helpful

    • Hi Geoff,
      I’m sorry to hear of your frustrations with Square. If you’re ever in the market for a new processor, be sure to check out CardFellow to get quotes from several processors and benefit from our strict enforcement of rules for the processors we work with.

  9. BHImages says:

    Paypal’s payment hold is for keyed or swiped transactions over $2500 in a 7 day period, is 30 days, not 90 days.

    Read more:

    I will still use Square and Square cash for swipping lower amounts or sending mobile cash, but Paypal for larger more “pro” transactions.

  10. Nadia says:

    Does PayPal charge a fee to receive the money into my PayPal account? I know there is a fee charged for using the customers credit card but will there also be a fee charged for paypal to accept the money into my paypal account?

  11. ANGLESPUR says:

    I have used both Square and PayPal Here. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but Square just made me really angry. I am a general contractor and have a lot of clients who are out of town while I am doing work for them. Both Square and PayPal provide the ability to send invoices and get paid remotely. The customer gets a link in their email they use to pay the invoice. Both have worked flawlessly for me until last night. I billed a client for about $4,300.00 through Square’s invoice page, the customer paid immediately and tonight I got an email from Square that they want all kinds of information from me before they will release the funds. They want my contractor’s license number, the last 3 months of bank statements, my tax ID number, a copy of the invoice I sent my client as proof of work performed and a few other things. The email then said their Customer Service Department would review the documents I provide and contact me if they need more information. In the meantime they will hold the funds and not deposit them into my bank account until they complete their review. Now PayPal may do a credit check and a background check, but they have NEVER done any of this or asked me for any such information and withheld funds until information and documentation is provided. I canceled the transaction and refunded my clients card. I just sent a new invoice to him through PayPal and the money is in my PayPal account as I write this. I will say that I have never had a problem with Square when swiping a card in person, nor have they ever asked for anything, but they certainly turn the tables on you when you send invoices (a service they push and promote, by the way). That’s just my experience and it just happened. I would be interested to see if anyone else has had such issues.

    • Zeeshan says:

      I had almost the same issue with Paypal 2-3 years ago in Australia when i used to live there. It wasn’t actually Here issue, it was Paypal’s. I sold 2 phones through eBay and money came into my Paypal account since that’s how eBay works. My balance on Paypal crossed $1000 and they holded my money, sent me an e-mail asking for my informarion and all those same legal questiona to prove my identity and stuff.. By that time i had already sent the phones to the buyers and there was no going back. I had to provide all the documentations that they asked me and it took many weeks and hours and hours of phone calls until i finally got money into my account.
      Just an experience.

    • Capt. says:

      Had similar experience with PPH froze my new account because we Swiped 8k and 2k manual. Jumped through their hoops and got it cleared up. Looking at others I was HIT WITH AN ADDITIONAL 1% in fees due to Clients Card not being a USA Credit card

    • Stephanie Turner says:

      Yup. I had a dispute with customer, contacted him, cleared up the misunderstanding, and square was trying to hold funds for like three monthes they said. I told them I knew they had already charged customers card because I was in direct contact with him and if they did not release the funds I would go to the press. Got my money the next day and dropped them like a rock. I’ll stick with paypal here I think, easy to understand policies and no funny business.

    • Tracy says:

      I have been using Square for about 3 years, no problems. I run a tax and accounting office along with a café and general office services. My transactions run at various costs, from $1 to $800 or more at times, it varies. They just questioned one of my client’s transactions, asked me for details, my business information along with a current invoice. I sent them everything and they still cancelled me without warning. I opened up a square account for my café with total separate transactions and 5 days from my office, they cancelled my café account without warning! I’m so irritated with them, and I just bought the Square Stand in which I love! I wish we could do class action lawsuit against them.

  12. Dedra says:

    Do either Square or PPH offer the option to charge the percentage back to the person purchasing? I mention this because I manage several condo’s and homeowner associations with hundreds of clients. Since each Association has its own bank account it will be difficult to figure out who owes what.

  13. Des Malone says:

    Here’s my take:

    Six months ago I learned about Square, decided to give it a shot, ordered the free phone reader, downloaded the app, set up the account. Within a few days I had the reader, popped it in my Samsung Galaxy 3, connected and made a $5.00 transaction with my own credit card and was done in 60 seconds.

    Six weeks ago I also learned about PayPal, decided to give the Here reader a shot. I already have a PayPal account so just ordered the reader. The submission link takes me to a static error page claiming PayPal needs a little more information first and have sent me an email with details. Six weeks and counting and I have yet to receive any such email, nor have I received the card reader. I sent 2 support emails to PayPal and some lacky sent me back the FAQ for the card reader that details how to use it in the wild, but did NOT answer the question as to the broken static “need more info” page or where about my reader might be.

    Square Cash is even easier. I used Square Register (phone) to purchase $5.00 from myself, swiping my credit card, then I got 2 other people to let me do a test using their cards. I then quickly and painlessly signed up for Square Cash, connected my banking info and promptly issued $5.00 refunds to the two other people, who received it in their accounts in a few hours, same for the credit card purchases. The deposits were then made first thing the following morning. No way on this planet PayPal can top that.

    I even emailed support and explained the nature of my business and what the risks were in having them arbitrarily freeze, hold or steal my funds, even if they’re high dollar transfers. They responded that they have a $25,000 transfer limit and as long as the nature of the business does not fall into their list of off limits businesses or operations, they won’t ever touch my funds. They responded within 24 hours.

    Square is hands down superior to PayPal. Unless and until they fail to deliver on the current level of quality and speed, they will remain my go to credit card processor…and I’ll ease off of PayPal once and for all. I haven’t personally had funds taken but there are beyond more than enough horror stories online that I wouldn’t trust them with anything over a hundred bucks. Ever.

  14. Bill Moore says:

    Just dumped square after a year. Why? Simple: They won’t give me customer name to verify with my records. Just the last 4 digits of a credit card.

    I run a non profit with membership dues. We compare the charge to the name on our list. No name, no compare. Our treasurer threatened to quite because Square just won’t accommodate. We tried, they said, effectively: Tough. We’re not giving you that info.

    Paypal, for all it’s issues, gives us an email. We have our members’ emails. That works for us.

    Good bye Square.

  15. Alan Kmiecik says:

    In regards to support, just because Paypal offers it, does not imply it has any value. I have worked with multiple organizations trying to use Paypal and find it annoying. They have over “simplified” to the point where it is extremely difficult to navigate. Also, gave up on calling support long ago. Provided negative value.

  16. Norman says:

    I’ve been using PayPal on my iPhone for about 7-8 months & really like it, it won’t work on my Nextbook tablet (Android 4.2 Jelly Bean) that we recently bought so I thought I would try the Square reader since I have it but never used it. Couldn’t get it to work on the tablet either, no phone number to call for Square whereas PayPal has good phone support, so I will continue with the PayPal reader. Another thing is the 1% bonus you get back at the end of the month with PayPal for using there PayPal debit Mastercard for purchases.

  17. AL says:

    We bought a Pay Pal card reader to use on our Prisum 2 from T Mobile. The Google Play app doesn’t accept our phone, nor the Pay Pal reader. Now I am trying to find a phone that will work with the ppcr…I don’t want to sign up on another plan with another company. I have been with Tmobile for 10 yrs with no problem. What other app can I use with the ppcr? I am less then two weeks away from my first small business show, and seem to be reduced to cash which means little sales as an ATM machine is a mile away, and most people don’t carry over $20 in cash now days. We don’t take checks either. Help.

  18. JA says:

    This article is very helpful. I currently have Paypal Here for my business. We just started using it. We were a small cash only company up till recently so we still don’t have many people that use credit card. We use the Paypal Here toggle on our phones. I am looking into electronic cash drawers that pair with an IPad so that we can look more professional. The only electronic IPad cash drawers (one that pops the cash drawer out when you ring someone up) I’ve found all require you to sign up for a software that will help you with transactions. If I’m using the Paypal Here app (free) on the IPad why do I need another software that costs seventy something dollars a month? Has anyone found an electronic cash drawer for an IPad that allows you to use Paypal Here that you can by without having to subscribe to a POS software? The square reader sells one for $99 on their website. There is no software you need to sign up for. With the reviews saying that the square takes a while for your money to be moved into your account and the lack of customer service I would rather not have to resort to the square.

  19. Eric says:

    I started with Square up. Bought the reader then got online to sign up. When I went through the verification process. It asks you 3 questions. With choices below. I answered 2 of 3 questions. The 3rd question had 3 answers instead of 4. So of course the “none of the above” answer that I needed wasn’t there. I got denied verification. So I restarted my phone logged back in an tried it again. Same thing. I got denied again to use credit cards. So I contacted tech support which is a load of crap. No direct number to anyone but a recording that says email tech support. So I did. And after explaining to them the reason why there system denied me. She said,

    On Feb 26, 2014 6:49 PM, “Square Support Team” wrote:

    Thanks for your email. Since we were unable to verify your identity during the activation process, our decision remains final.

    If you would still like to use Square for your business, you are welcome to ask a business partner to open an account with us.

    I’ve shared your feedback with our team, and I’m sorry for any frustration this may have caused.

    Square Support
    How are we doing? Please take a minute to answer four questions about your experience with Square Support.

    Smh. If anyone would like the email I have no problem screenshoting them and emailing them to you. There mobile site was jacked and they did nothing to help me and my business. Im goin with paypal.

  20. Andy says:

    I got a Square reader and used it with my Android phone one time to register folks for a meeting. It worked great. But the next time I tried, I couldn’t get it to work. The jack port was apparently loosened. I had NEVER used the jack port EVER, except that one time. I WAS happy with it, now I’m not.

  21. Home Inspector says:

    Beware of PayPal Here! First, they hold 100% of your funds above any amount of $2500.00 for up to 90 days. Second, they refuse to post my business account name or even my name on clients’ billing statements. This has created a great amount of confusion as I have had 2 clients file for fraudulent unauthorized charges. All they see is a charge from PayPal on their statement. I even had one client try to research who the merchant was that made the charge and was unable to find my company info anywhere. PayPal refuses to remedy this issue by simply applying my information to billing statements. PayPal simply says “that’s how the system is built and we will not change,” even one of their own customer service agents admits that this is wrong and confusing. Fortunately, my clients are really good smart people and have contacted their credit card companies, but it will take a week or more for the whole issue to be resolved. Also, be sure to check rates of swiped versus keyed in transactions. Keying transactions does cost more. Many of my clients are not on site when I charge their cards, which requires keyed transactions.

    • Gerald says:

      Yep, happened to me. I charged a client $7k for some software development work I did and Square held all but $2500! Then, I found out I could have saved 1% of the fees by having just sent them an invoice through paypal instead…. :-(

    • Hope says:

      Does the “hold anything above $2,500″ apply to a single transaction, or to the amount accumulated over a certain period of time?

  22. Claude Stein says:

    I always have trouble swiping with the Square reader on my iPhone 5. Does anyone else? And is the PayPal reader more reliable?

    • Rebecca says:

      I just bought the Here for my iPhone 4s and can not get it passed the confirmation page, getting an error every time saying try again later. Not sure what to do, was counting on this working. I have noticed others have had the same problem. Does anyone know what to do about this? Trying to get Paypal on the phone is nearly impossible during the week day when one works and can’t sit on hold for hours at a time.

  23. Brian says:

    Neither supports the Windows Phone yet, so they’re both behind on that front. If one of them should roll out support for it, I know exactly which one I’d love more in a heartbeat.

  24. Danis says:

    Android users beware of a PayPalHere glitch-snaffu. Apparently this is new. You need to get a PPH reader that has WHITE rings on its plug-in post so it will work on an Android phone. The black ringed ones are for iPhones. However, if you’re buying your reader at a store, the packaging all shows black rings, and the package is wrapped, so you don’t know what you’ve got until you have bought and unwrapped it. PPH will send you a white-ringed reader for free, but… what a pain if you wanted to use it right away! While awaiting your white-ringed reader you can use the other one by typing in credit card numbers and paying the higher rate (3.5%+$0.15) per transaction. So you get to pay extra for PPH’s poor planning. At least they have phone customer service so a person can explain this bewildering situation to you.

  25. Rickey says:

    Great article! I just signed up for the PayPal Here reader today. I have an eBay page, which I use PayPal as the primary payment method. I have immediate records of all transactions centralized, and have it connected to my bank account. The synergy of that in addition to the layout on iOS means just about anyone can set up a mobile business in hours. I’m now online and mobile and PayPal work great. I look forward to using it and gauging customer reactions.

  26. says:

    I am quite furious with Paypal Here. I just spent $400 on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 after scouring Paypal’s site for compatibility issues and finding none. The phone has arrived and doesn’t work. I called tech support and they had no idea whether the phone was compatible. They had me test it and then concluded it is not compatible. They should warn buyers up front instead of saying PayPal Here “works on most Android devices.”

    • Mark Schroor says:

      Under the FAQ sections on the Paypal website, it says:

      “Currently, we are working on supporting Android devices. As we receive updates, we will provide more information in this FAQ section.”

      • tawster says:

        Mark: It supports many many Android devices, but they state this: “At this time, PayPal Here is not supported on Android tablets.”

        What’s interesting is that in their list of Android devices, they list the Samsung Tab 10.1 — which is a tablet. And that would imply they now support the Samsung Tab2 (10.1) so, I see that as confusing if they do not.

    • Chris says:

      Actually, on this page:

      It says:

      In order to run PayPal Here, an Android device must include the following specifications:

      Android version 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) or higher
      3.5 mm headset jack with microphone
      Support for Location Services
      Access to the internet (via WiFi or cellular data network)
      PayPal Here is not compatible with all Android devices. Please download the app on your phone to determine if your device is compatible.
      At this time, PayPal Here is not supported on Android tablets.

      The Galaxy Tab 2 is a tablet, not a phone. If you are using a 7″ tablet as a phone, then you have other problems.

  27. David Lindsley says:

    I was going to go with Square, but went with Paypal Here instead because I also needed to replace my online store with something else now that Google has decided to scrap its shopping cart. The pay pal API is free and with a little effort on my part, I have replaced all the google buttons with the PayPal API. Square has the beginnings of an online stroke, but no API for your website, so it made more sense for me to use PayPal for both. Plus I like free. :)

  28. Kelli says:

    I just met with the Better Business Bureau this past Wednesday and was informed that businesses who use Square can not become accredited because Square sells private information, whereas PayPal does not, and is okay to use and become accredited with the BBB.

  29. Ken says:

    The Paypal reader won’t plug into my phone with the Ottorbox case. I work outside and need the rugged protection of the Ottorbox, so I’m very disappointed in the design of the reader. How they could ignore the need for a connector that would fit one of the most popular phone cases is beyond me! And as far as I can tell, appropriate pigtails are not available.

    • JH says:

      I had the same problem. I tried a few adapters but they weren’t reliable enough. I bought the otter box armor case and now it’s simple. Open two latches on the side of the case and your phone is out in two seconds to use.

    • Janice says:

      I have the Square and just got a new phone with an Otterbox case. Same problem. I’ll have to check out the Otterbox Armor case that JH mentioned.

    • Forrest says:

      Use a razor to trim the OtterBox case a little, and it will work fine.

    • Former Otterbox rep says:

      In regards to the Otterbox case, trash it and get a nicer, cheaper case for your phone. “Rugged protection” is an overstatement.

      As for your dilemma with the card reader, you can get a short standard male to female headphone jack extension adapter that is designed for such purposes. It may look a bit ghetto with your card reader flopping around, but at least your device will be safe! As safe as it can be in an otterbox, I guess.

      • Helper says:

        I bought a headphone extender and it works fine with Square and PayPal Here with my Otterbox. But it can’t be just any extender, it has to specifically say that it’s for credit card readers and that it’s compatible with your case.

        • Eileen G. says:

          Like “HELPER” says above, if you google “male to female headphone jack extension adapter for credit card reader” you will find what you’re looking for. It will run you between $12-20 + shipping. I bought one from Amazon for $19.00 including shipping ($14 for the cable, $5 for shipping.) Good luck!

  30. Heather Langley says:

    I am currently using Square to receive payments from students at a small school. I take about 30 payments per night, and have had trouble with Square. If my staff forgets to write down the name and amount the student paid, I haven’t found a way to go back into my square account, and see the name of the person that made the payment. I called Square, and they said its for privacy reasons, but if the student is paying me, then I should be able to know their name….right? Does anyone know if PayPal would allow me to go back and check the names of the credit card holders if I needed to?

    • Diane says:

      Yes, you can see all your transactions on your Paypal account. You can see the names of who made payments and how much they paid.

    • Emily Sullivan says:

      You can definitely go into Square’s online environment to see payment history. I just looked, and the individual transaction detail is there, and you can export it to a spreadsheet. Also, I get an email every time I do a payment, so I have my email history too.

      You can see the last 4 digits of the credit card number used and you can see the signature (good luck reading it if it’s not legible). Hopefully, between those two things you can keep track of who paid. Perhaps it would help to bring a sign-in sheet with all the students names and have them check their name off or leave a signature when they pay.

      I’m grateful that Square exists… makes my (business) life much easier!

    • Gerard Capell says:

      No they don’t. I’m having the same problem not knowing who has paid. The “description” is also totally useless, which is perplexing, why have it if its data is not stored & recoverable

      • brad says:

        With Square, you can add a note to each transaction. It is pretty easy.
        1. Enter the purchase
        2. Go to current sale
        3. Click on the sale (not the part with the arrow, but below on the sale item).
        4. Here you can add a note that will stay with the transaction records (like the email or name of a customer).
        5. Co back to current sale.
        6. Charge the sale.
        7. Swipe the card.
        8. That’s all there is to adding a note to each sale. Let me also say that unless you do this every day, you will have to play around with it to remember the way to do this. If this is your first try, it takes a little trial and error to find the place to add the note. But it’s pretty easy once you do it a few times.

        Also, you can practice and never swipe a card or spend any money.

        We did a big fundraiser with lots of art buyers and sales were happening fast with 10 cashiers and it worked out very well, except it does take time to input the info and it adds extra training for the volunteers that were helping us out.

  31. Ronnie says:

    Nice article. I drive a taxicab and I’ve used Square for nearly three years. Have had no problems with them. Just got the PayPal reader & Paypal debit MasterCard last week. Must say, I’m extremely impressed with PayPal. I love that my funds are available for immediate use. In fact, I’m considering placing signs in my taxi, informing my passengers that I only accept credit/ debit cards for payment! I will continue to use Square daily, until their next-day deposit availibility ends for that day (currently 7:00 p.m., CT). I will use PayPal after 7:00 p.m. weekdays and on the weekend. I like the way Square is set up to remember the cardholder’s email address from a previous transaction(s). Would like to see PayPal add this feature.

    • Fred Willey says:

      I’m kind of curious, did you place a sign in your cab saying only credit/debit cards will be accepted? If so, how does that work for you?

      Why would you not want to accept cash? I mean… Square and PPH are both very useful products but they still take/charge a small amount for use of their service. Which adds up over a period of time. Not sure what city you’re in but would your TLC even allow that?

      • Ronnie says:

        “I’m kind of curious, did you place a sign in your cab saying only credit/debit cards will be accepted…?”

        No. The Austin (TX) City Code does not allow that. I’ve pretty much stopped using Square. I’m just about the exact opposite of all the other taxi drivers in Austin. 99.9999% of all the drivers I know, hate taking credit cards from their passenger, even with using services like PPH & Square. To me, PPH is the greatest invention since sliced bread. But most of the drivers don’t see it that way. A lot of the drivers threatened to boycott/sue the Austin airport when the airport put in a rule at the end of 2011,requiring all cabs picking up at the airport, to take credit cards.

        • Ronnie says:

          One odd thing I find about PPH; there is no place on the customer receipt for a merchant telephone number. Only the merchant email address is shown. When I contacted PP Customer Service about this, I was told it was out of privacy concerns. The rep told me PP determined it would be best for the merchant’s phone number to remain private. I don’t know about PP, but I’ve never heard of a legitimate business that didn’t want their telephone number displayed on the customer’s receipt. To solve this issue for me, I now type my phone number into the “description” section of all customer receipts, which is kind of a hassle. Hopefully, PP will come to their senses in the near future with this issue.

  32. Person says:

    You might want to note that PayPal Here does not work on Android tablets. As an Android developer, I know that this is ridiculous because it is not that difficult to support tablets in your app. This is especially relevant because a tablet appears to be a common form factor for these card readers.

    • Vampyre says:

      I also find the lack of support for Android tablets disappointing in reference to the PayPal here app. It that was added, it would be the perfect choice for me. The only other gripe I have is that the reader does not fit well on my Samsung SG3 when it is in the OtterBox. It the plug were a tad longer, this would probably not be an issue either.

    • Toolworker says:

      Paypal Here also doesn’t work (as of 7/2/13) on the Samsung Galaxy S4. They haven’t added it to their unsupported devices list, but a couple of days ago their app started saying the hardware is incompatible.

      • Bethie says:

        I do know that they have fixed the problem with the app on the Galaxy S4 and it does work now. Not sure if there are any bugs or issues since I haven’t tried mine (PPH) yet, but I will soon. I just got an S4 and I wouldn’t have done it if PPH was incompatible. I have a small crafting business and it is imperative that it work well.

    • Cheryl says:

      PayPal Here does not work on the Fusion 2 AT&T phone either which sucks now I have no choice but to use square

  33. Fred Willey says:

    Another plus in PayPal Here’s column, you can issue partial refunds with PPH. Currently, this is not possible with Square. Something like giving a partial refund may not seem important or useful until you need to do it.

  34. Ty says:

    Important Question: What about open invoices? How do these platforms handle open invoices? For example, if a client pays 50% down at time of sale and the balance upon completion of project a week later, how would this be handled? I have a web development company, we make websites for clients and manage their newsletter campaigns. When one of our sales reps meets with a client, we would like to take a 50% deposit, then collect the balance once the work is done (about a week to 2 weeks later). I know there is no “partial payment” option on the PayPal platform, so… would you just make 2 invoices – one for the deposit, one for the balance? But then: that would never show your open invoices or accounts receivable. This must be an important issue facing many companies. I’m so surprised it’s been overlooked.

  35. David says:

    Our org has only used Square. We were somewhat disappointed as we had no way of knowing who our customers were. When I contacted Square they told me that otherwise there would be privacy concerns. I am told that you can tell who your customers are with PayPal Here. Is this true?

  36. GK says:

    I’ve been using Square for about a year. There were no problems for a while, but the last couple of months, since an app update, it does not allow cards to be swiped so manual entry is required. This means they charge the higher rate, taking more money from the merchant on each transaction. Others have posted the same issue I’ve been having. I’ve emailed, but all I get is a note blaming my technique or that my device isn’t supported. My device has not changed and is still listed on their site as being supported, and I have not changed the way I use the app. In fact, it no longer gives a prompt to swipe the card, and swiping does nothing. Square is becoming untrustworthy as far as I’m concerned. If it was indeed my device, I would understand and work through it, but it isn’t. I had no trouble for almost a year, now impossible to swipe a card to get the lower rate. I am going to switch to PayPal Here and give it a go. Waiting a few days for the bank deposit is fine with me, that’s how my online transactions work anyway with PayPal. It’s worth getting the better rate and real customer support if needed.

    • Tawster says:

      We use Square all the time. We have not encountered this problem as of yet.

      So far, we are very happy with the Square platform. The app keeps getting better, even though I wish they kept the Android app on par with the iOS version. The Android app always lags. It sounds like that is the case with PayPals version as well.

    • KLSH says:

      Have you tried adjusting the volume when you swipe? The volume level makes a difference.

  37. Amy says:

    Very good comparison of these two processing applications. I have used Square for 6 months, but have heard horrible things about their customer service. Additionally, much of my business takes place on Friday and Saturdays, and I almost always have to wait at least 24 hrs for Square to send me notice that they are transferring money to my account, then 3 days for it to show up as available. so this means, on average, I need to wait 4 days after selling product to reorder, since I don’t typically have funds in my business account to cover all my orders. The merchant card from PayPal and 2.7% transaction fee are enough to get me to switch. Here is a question though, is there a fee for or a hold on adding funds to your card from your bank? Cash and check transactions are still going to be deposited into my business account, and that money will need to be added to my PayPal card.

  38. Bann says:

    Thanks for the article. Great discussion. I do small craft shows and I was looking for a review of both products. I think I will get PayPal because of the phone support it gives as well as other features. Talking to a real person is important to me when something goes wrong, especially when I first start to use it. Also, I don’t mind the 2-3 day wait, however, the debit card does sound attractive.

  39. Jes says:

    I have been using Square and just got my PayPal reader, but I have had a PayPal account/Debit card for years. I am still deciding what one card reader I want to use/stay with. The one thing that entices me about the Paypal is that you earn 1% on your purchases you make with your PayPal debit card. I think this is a nice bonus for when I will use the PayPal card to pay for product or bills. The article doesn’t really talk about that so I wonder what other peoples perspective on this is?

    • Fred Willey says:

      That 1% cash back on signature purchases is a real plus in PayPal’s column. Having instant access to your money via the debt card is something Square just can’t match right now. I do wish you could use the debit card at ATMs without incurring surcharges. But you can do cash back at many retailers without any extra fees.

      • Jason Green says:

        You should be able to get money off of the Paypal debit card by means of a cash advance at your local bank. Might be a good way to get larger sums of money off the card if you need the cash sooner than later. You may also want to check first to see if Paypal charges fees though in thir terms and conditions.

  40. Fred Willey says:

    My preference is for Paypal Here. The additional functions PPH offers, being able to take picture of credit card, accepting paper checks, accepting Paypal, can tie into Paypal for online sales. But some little things Square has simply done much better. I like how the Square app is always ready to go after a click on the icon. With PPH, if the app has been closed for awhile you have sign-in each time (or put in a PIN code) for the app to open up.

    I like how Square gets an authorization BEFORE you hand the device over to the customer for signature. As opposed to PPH, you swipe the card then it goes to the signature screen. So with PPH its in the hands of the customer when the authorization goes through. I like to see the approval or disapproval first. Even though signatures are not required on amounts under $25, I like to always get one.

  41. Sochi says:

    I am considering paypal/square technology. I use a Nurit 8000 now. If I were to get a phone with a data plan, how much data do I need to process a sale? I have seen plans that say the first 2.5 GB are fast, then speed is reduced… Does this make sense to anyone? Does it matter?
    I do art shows and only process 20 sales a month,more or less, except some great shows when I might do 100 sales.
    What is required data-wise?
    Thanks for any help.

    • Fred Willey says:

      Both PayPal Here and Square use very little data to process transactions. And you don’t need 4G or a “fast” speed to do so. I’ve processed transaction on 2G and it only takes a few seconds. From Square’s FAQs: Square uses very small amounts of data to process payments. Each transaction typically uses less than 10kb. If your customer provides a signature, no more than 50kb will be used for the transaction. If you add a picture to the transaction, no more than 3MB will be used.

      To give you some idea of how many transactions you can make with a GB of data… it takes approx 1024MB to make a 1 GB.

  42. Phototristan says:

    PayPal Here offers live customer support via phone, Square does not.

    This is a huge benefit with PayPal versus Square’s support, which is like pulling teeth trying to get help with anything. With Square, you have to email them or leave a voicemail message and prey while you wait for them to respond.

  43. Jim says:

    So the battle is on…I have a Square (not yet used) and considering the Pay Pal system as well. Is there an advantage to both? I do have the older I-Phone, so Square makes sense there. My Ipad is also older, does that make a difference? I’m a small business that helps generate money for charitable interest… I really need to make a best choice here, and I would appreciate real users to respond. Sounds like the two companies have hounds following this chat.

    • jen says:

      My older Android didn’t support the PayPal Here and I had to opt for the Square until I can upgrade. Have you tried downloading the app to see if your phone will support it? The percentage rate is the same.

    • Sandy fore says:

      I am a hairstylist and have both.. I like them both..depending which account I want the money to go to determines which I use.

    • Toolworker says:

      We have a 501(c)(3). PayPal has lower rates for nonprofits (but not on swipes); Square does not.

      We are using PayPal for donation buttons and purchases on our web site but are considering going to Square for swipes because PayPal doesn’t memorize customer emails and it’s fiddly to enter them on a phone.

      But PayPal phone and email support is fabulous. I don’t think I could have gotten going without it. (Of course, now that I know how it works, Square should be easy.)

  44. Mark says:

    Great article, but another big thing is PayPal Here does not allow multiple users to swipe cards at the same time to allow the transaction to go through. One of the users will get kicked and it will not allow anyone else to process until the transaction is finished. Square allows simultaneous swipes by the different managed users. Without a glitch.

    • Jeanette says:

      That is incorrect. PayPal Free business accounts have multiple user capability, each account is allowed up to 10 card readers for free with 10 users being able to access PayPal Here at the same time. The account must be set up as PayPal Payment Standard – (this is sign up process only Free – so everyone gets approved). the Each PayPal account also has direct bank deposit, but you must call Paypal business support to activate.

  45. Kimber says:

    I sell at Farmers Markets and other outdoor events. I don’t always have wifi access with my iPad. Does anyone know if I can still swipe either of these readers and have the transactions go through later?

    • Sadie says:

      You would have to save the card information and manually enter them at a later time. Square charges 3.5% plus $0.15 each transaction for manually-entered charge cards. You may want to get a hot-spot Wifi to take with you or use 3G if Wifi is unavailable.

      • Chris says:

        This comment was true at the time it was written, but is no longer accurate. Square now allows you to capture transactions while disconnected and process them when the network is back. Of course, if you’ve already handed over the goods and a transaction is declined, too bad for you, but that’s unavoidable when disconnected.

  46. Roberto says:

    I really cannot wait to receive my PayPal Here reader. I’ve been using the Square reader for 3 years now and am hoping that since my clients are more familiar with the PayPal brand, they will be more confident with the new card reader. Also, it looks quite larger than the Square which usually gave me swiping problems when I was in a hurry. Perhaps this will introduce more stability and fewer annoying and embarrassing “mis-swipes.”

  47. Rene says:

    Regarding Intuit GoPayment, if the credit card is a business or corporate credit cards they charge a 3.75% even if you pay the monthly plan or pay as you go plan, plus processing fees. So Square by far still beats Intuit GoPayment. I have not check Paypal’s fees on business or corporate credit card. Maybe somebody can enlighten us on this

  48. Kate says:

    What about tips? Square offers to add a percentage to my total- but some customers want to add a monetary amount and I feel awkward asking them to add it- does PayPal offer a place to add a tip like that?

    • Jeanette says:

      Of course it does, PayPal has this option – for Tips.

    • Fred Willey says:

      Tipping is one of the areas PPH does much better than Square. You can set percentage or whole dollar amounts. And you can decide the amounts to display of either and it gives the customer the option to put in any amount they would like. Some people are big tippers and many times they’ll tip more than 20% and even more than the cost of the service. Just depends on the person.

  49. Kira Carrillo Corser says:

    Have you compared PayPal and Square with Go Payment Intuit? They seem to charge
    the same percent, plus have a Quickbooks download of transactions.

  50. Tree says:

    Another point not mentioned is Paypal has a simple inventory feature that allows you to quickly select your merchandise when ringing a customer. Square does not have this option.

    • Jessnt says:

      Square does have the inventory (quick selection) option using the store inventory on register. Store inventory can be sections and/or itemized. Paypal works smoother, but I believe that was Square’s intention. Paypal did that part better.
      I am wondering if there is anyway to have PayPal credit card funds deposited to my bank account, instead of my PayPal account? That is the reason I run both PayPal and Square. Plus, I had Square over a year and a half. For Some of my sale items I need funds in my bank account quickly and don’t like going through the deposit/transfer options. I realize maybe Paypal doesn’t offer this because they wouldn’t make interest off the money for those 3-5 days. Anyone know? Thank you.

    • Iman says:

      Yes, square does have this option. I have the iPad app and it works very well. Just like an etsy app or of the sort with automatic transactions like online shopping.

    • jimmy says:

      Square has this feature ONLY on the ipad. It is not offered on the iPhone or the Android. Paypal here offers it… and on the Android I know for certain because less than an hour ago my son and I compared his PayPal to my Square, both on Androids. Also, my Square on my tablet is just a bad blown up image from the phone size screen. They say right on their site they do not support tablets except the iPad

      • DeeDee says:

        Square now offers full inventory on the iPhone. However, it does not yet offer categories like it does on the iPad.

  51. Alan says:

    Square holds funds for 30 days on transaction over a $1000

    • roland says:

      If you’re a merchant you can ask Square to raise your ceiling. It went pretty quick for me and I didn’t wait 30 days.

  52. pickleman says:

    I have been using Square for several months and discovered that, with all of the half- and quarter-pennies they take per transaction I am paying more than their advertised 2.75% since they are rounding everything up to the nearest penny. This 2.75% is a per transaction fee so after a day of doing 150 charges Square is actually taking an additional $13.
    If you multiply that by 200 days per year you are looking at a chunk of change.

  53. Laura says:

    Excellent discussion on Square versus Paypal Here. My business has traditionally been online clients only, and we are making the switch to serving both online and offline and hope to have this accomplished by November 1st. There are some strong points on both sides, but for me one issue that was not addressed in the above post is that it is very convenient having all my income and expenses laid out for me with Paypal Reports. It makes my life a whole lot easier when tax time rolls around and for my regular bookkeeping tasks. My online customers who are also local and are eager to do business with me on both fronts using the card reader when I visit their establishments are comfortable already with Paypal.

    I am unfamiliar with Square and need to find out what administrative support they offer and how that compares with Paypal’s Reports and other payment processing such as invoicing, which I believe was mentioned in the post. I also have worldwide customers and utilize Paypal for all my transactions. Using Square’s reader service would mean going from one solution to shuffling two services.

    As is the case with most business decisions, you have to carefully weigh every way that the decision will impact the business and its customers. Your post is nicely done, and the chart makes it easy to compare the two services. Thanks for your time, research and posting efforts.

    • LJ says:

      I have used Square for 3 years (almost from their inception). I’ll change to another company as soon as I can because I can’t take Square’s carelessness any longer. They have an online “dashboard” for your account, which used to work excellent until 1 year ago, and is utterly miserable with their latest “update” effective this week. You are not allowed to print a copy of any transaction for your records, and they lump several completely unrelated transactions together to make it look like one large transaction. You can download a spreadsheet to print out, but the spreadsheets are worthless because they too lump transactions together as one, even though it is supposed to be an itemized list of transactions.
      And, as noted in the article, there is NO genuine customer service… it’s all done via email (or twitter, which I don’t do), and they have basically scripted responses. Just a few months ago, they told me in order to have a functional dashboard, I had to change my browser to Firefox or Chrome, because they “do not support Internet Explorer” What kind of company doesn’t support IE?
      Square used to be excellent, but they have been sliding into the abyss of worthlessness and are ready to hit the bottom. I’m jumping ship!

  54. Kev says:

    The fact that PayPal Here takes 3 to 4 days to deposit funds in my account is reason enough for me to go back to using Square. As stated, Square funds are available in my account the next day. I won’t do business with a company that uses slower processing services to transfer funds. Actually, I can’t see why any business person would accept this, unless one of the other PayPal services is an attraction.

    • Business Owner says:

      PayPal is not responsible for the 3-4 days it takes to deposit the funds into your bank. It ALL depend on YOUR bank. My funds are usually there in 2 days and I bank with Regions. PayPal deposits it and you bank does the rest as far as processing it.

      • Nane says:

        Square deposits money into your bank account first thing in the morning the next day, unless the transaction is made on a Friday or Saturday. In that case, money is available the next business day.

      • Mike says:

        As a business owner, I don’t care who’s to blame for the funds taking 3 to 4 days to hit my bank… That’s a bunch of bull that it’s NOT Paypal. they make a ton of money holding that money for the extra 2 or 3 days!!

        All I know is that I used to have a traditional card machine at my location and it took 3 days.

        Now I use the Square, and it takes one day!! that’s a big difference when I have to pay out commissions. And WHY should I have to go through another step to move my money from PayPal to my account, only to have take 3 days!!

        I was considering PayPal Here until I read this! If they change this problem, I might reconsider

        • Ben says:

          Hi Mike,
          Quite a few traditional credit card processors provide 12-hour funding. It sounds like the company you were using was imposing a hold.

        • A says:

          You do know that it is the Bank that is taking the 2-3 days not PayPal. PayPal does not make interest on your money during that time when your bank is processing the funds, it is the bank’s hands. PayPal does not make any interest on your funds.

    • Beau says:

      Adding to what Business Owner said: if you have a PayPal Debit card, you can get that money in CASH instantly once it’s in your account, no waiting. Not to mention you can turn around and use it at any other POS online or in person.

    • Jeanette says:

      Paypal offers a free debit card so you can withdraw your funds in a ATM as soon as it hits your PayPal account- which is instant. You can also call PayPal business support to turn on auto-deposit of funds to your bank. As soon as funds hits your PayPal account the system will deposit your money to your bank everyday at midnight, but the bank still take 2-3 day to show balance..(which PayPal has no control of)

      • john says:

        That’s great about the PayPal debit card, but doesn’t that mean you have to now pay ATM fees on top of the credit card processing fees?

    • chuck says:

      You can also get a PayPal debit card and spend the money almost as soon as the transaction is complete.

    • lynne says:

      I have a debit card with my PayPal account and have access to the funds immediately and earn 1% cash back on all signature transactions.

  55. Wolfe says:

    I’d just like to point out that an advantage to square’s card reader is that it supports versions of IOS previous to the current 4.3 which means that it will still support the Iphone 3g instead of only supporting the Iphone 3gs and forward models. I know it might not be a HUGE advantage, but it does translate into a potentially hassling upgrade for people with the older model iphone.

    • Ben says:

      Thanks, Wolfe. That’s a great point, and I’ve updated the article to reflect Square’s edge for supported devices.

    • Designs says:

      That was a great point, as I am starting to look at these options much more. I was breifly considering getting an older iPhone just for business and payment transactions. I would need to have PayPal support iP3 as they are much less expensive to have for business wear and tear.

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