Credit Card Processing

Mobile Showdown: PayPal Here Vs. Square 2019

by Ben Dwyer

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.

But there are other factors that make Square a good choice, leaving PayPal behind. So, which one is right for your business? Here’s how the two compare.

Just looking for the facts on Square?
Check out our Square review.

NOTE: In April 2023, PayPal Here was discontinued and became PayPal Zettle or Zettle by PayPal. We’re leaving this comparison here for historical purposes, but it will no longer be updated and PayPal Here is no longer available.

PayPal Here Vs. Square

With PayPal Here featuring live customer support, immediate funding at no additional charge, 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. Let’s take a look at how the two companies compare on key areas such as pricing, customer service, equipment, and more.

Square PayPal Here Advantage

Credit & Debit Card Processing Rates

Swiped: 2.6% plus $0.10
Keyed: 3.50% plus $0.15
Swiped: 2.70%
Keyed: 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 merchant accounts often paired with a third-party mobile application like ROAMpay where transaction fees can range upwards of $0.25.

However, in autumn of 2019, Square did away with it’s flat 2.75% rate in favor of a 2.6% + $0.10 rate. So far, PayPal Here has not indicated that they will add a transaction fee. The lower cost solution will depend primarily on whether you have fewer large transactions (in which case, the lower percentage from Square may be the better fit) or many smaller transactions. (In which case, the lack of transaction fee from PayPal Here will be the better fit.

Fees for Refunds

No new fees; fees originally paid will be refunded to you. No new fees; fees originally paid will not be refunded to you. Square
As of May 9, 2019, PayPal will no longer return the fees that you paid on a transaction if you refund your customer. For businesses that process lots of refunds (such as clothing stores) that can add up quickly.

If you regularly refund customers, Square is the clear winner.

Check Processing Rate

Check Processing Not Offered Included 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?

Start Up Cost

Free, depending on reader Free, depending on reader PayPal Here Square Tied
Square and PayPal Here both supply mobile card readers and apps. The mobile readers for both Square and Here plug in to the headphone jack of an electronic device.

The basic free reader from both companies only accepts magnetic strip credit and debit cards. Both offer a chip card reader, but it comes at an additional cost. Readers that also accept contactless payment methods are avaiable for a cost as well.

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. While the company says that current business owners can get in touch by phone after receiving a merchant call-in code, many businesses still report difficulty getting in touch.

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
  • Electronic Invoices
  • Credit and signature debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover)
  • PIN Debit (with EMV/PIN debit reader only)
  • 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 the option to accept PIN-based debit using a specific reader.

Funds Availability

Next Day, or ‘instant’ with a 1% fee. Immediate, through PayPal account PayPal Here Square Tied
PayPal Here boasts the immediate availability of funds with no extra fees, 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 withdraw 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. If you need your money faster, you can pay an additional 1% to get it instantly.

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. Both companies also offer EMV chip card capable readers, adding another layer of security.

Supported Devices and Equipment

iPhone/iPad, Android (Support for Older Devices) iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows (magstripe reader only) 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 PayPal Here’s supported devices for more information.

Both Square and PayPal offer chip-capable mobile card readers. The Square reader is priced at $29 as of 2018 and looks much like the previous reader. The EMV-capable PayPal card reader is a larger device with a built-in PIN pad and contactless technology. The PayPal card reader is priced at $79 as of 2018. Both companies have options for contactless payments, as well.

Market Availability

United States and Canada United States, Hong Kong, Australia PayPal Here Square Tied
Square now provides service to Canada.


As you can see from the table, both Square and PayPal Here have pros and cons. PayPal Here is (slightly) lower cost, while Square supports more devices.

Keep in mind that both Square and PayPal Here offer flat rate pricing, which may not be the lowest cost for your business. Flat rate looks simple, but simple is not always the most competitive. Flat rate will generally be a good fit for your business if you:

  • Process less than $5,000/month in credit cards
    – or –
  • Have an average transaction size of $10 or less.

If that’s you, flat rate is a good bet for paying the lowest possible pricing to accept credit cards.

Choose Square if you:

  • Process a lot of refunds and want the processing fees returned to you
  • Want same-day setup with no credit checks
  • Use a Windows device

Choose PayPal Here if you:

  • Want to accept PIN debit
  • Plan to take checks
  • Want more options to reach customer service


If you’re not sure that Square or PayPal are a good fit (or if flat rate pricing isn’t likely to be the lowest cost for your business) there are plenty of alternatives. Try a price comparison tool (like CardFellow’s free cost comparison) or check out our smartphone credit card reader reviews.

220 thoughts on “Mobile Showdown: PayPal Here Vs. Square 2019”

  1. Pingback: Top Tech Tips for Small Biz with Limited Budget | Hunger Games

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. PayPal is not responsible for the 3-4 days it takes to deposit the funds into your bank. It ALL depends 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      3. You have absolutely no idea what your talking about. ACH transfers should take 24 hours at the most! It should be instant. PayPal holds on to the money for 2-3 days, and THEN hands it over to the bank. Paypal make MOST of its money from interest accrued on money sitting in PayPal accounts, delayed payment transfers, and illegal freezing and holding of funds. People are so gullible today.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.)

      1. 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?

    4. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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

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

  7. Kira Carrillo Corser

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

    1. Hi Kira,

      CardFellow has a comprehensive review of Intuit’s GoPayment service here: GoPayment. GoPayment is considerably more expensive than either Square or PayPal Here because Intuit does not charge a single flat rate. Instead, it uses tiered pricing to levy surcharges to a considerable amount of sales volume.

  8. 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?

    1. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.”

  11. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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). Each PayPal account also has direct bank deposit, but you must call Paypal business support to activate.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.)

  14. 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 pray while you wait for them to respond.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. That money earned back is exactly why I use PPH. It offsets some of the fees, which is nice! As a weekend art show participant, I also like that my funds are immediately available. I usually do not transfer them to my bank account since I utilize the PayPal debit MasterCard.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

  21. 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?

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. “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.

        1. 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.

  26. Heather Langley

    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?

    1. 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.

    2. Emily Sullivan

      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!

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

        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.

  27. The Paypal reader won’t plug into my phone with the Otterbox case I work outside and need the rugged protection of the Otterbox, 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.

    1. 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.

    2. I have 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.

    3. Former Otterbox rep

      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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

  28. 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. David Lindsley

    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 PayPal 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. 🙂


    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.”

    1. 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.”

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. Android users beware of a PayPal Here glitch/snafu. 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.

  33. 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.

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

    1. I just bought the Here for my iPhone 4s and cannot get it past the confirmation page, getting an error every time saying try again later. Not sure what to do, I 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 weekday when one works and can’t sit on hold for hours at a time.

  35. 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.

    1. 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. 🙁

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

  36. 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.

  37. I started with Square. 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 screenshotting them and emailing them to you. There mobile site was jacked and they did nothing to help me and my business. I’m going with PayPal.

  38. 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 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 Square.

  39. 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 T-mobile for 10 years 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

    Goodbye Square.

  43. 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.

  44. Do either Square or PPH offer the option to charge the percentage back to the person purchasing? I mention this because I manage several condos 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.

    1. None of the services offer that because it is a violation of the credit card provider terms of service. The purchaser cannot be charged the processing fee. That is the responsibility of the merchant.

  45. 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 client’s 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.

    1. 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 held my money, sent me an e-mail asking for my information and all those same legal questions 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 documentation 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.

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

    3. Stephanie Turner

      Yup. I had a dispute with customer, contacted him, cleared up the misunderstanding, and Square was trying to hold funds for like three months they said. I told them I knew they had already charged customer’s 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.

    4. 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.

    5. I’ve had the same issue with square this week! Then they tell me the small transactions will still go through, without me sending in all of the paperwork…but my money is still pending and I have no way to refund and reprocess!

  46. Does PayPal charge a fee to receive the money into my PayPal account? I know there is a fee charged for using the customer’s credit card but will there also be a fee charged for Paypal to accept the money into my Paypal account?

  47. Thank you for the comparison! As a new small business owner, I started with Square and I was so annoyed I want to cancel it. You cannot talk to anyone live, I cannot 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 – it would not let me and you can’t talk to anyone. I can’t de-activate the account. It puts you through unnecessary nonsense. Life and business should not be this difficult. I was debating on PayPal, which was very easy to set up an account.

    At least that is what happened to me. Not a good way to start out your business.

    Thank you for the information, it was helpful.

    1. 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.

        1. Frank, do you mean to accept credit card payments with a mobile device? CardFellow itself isn’t a processor, but yes, there are processors in our marketplace that support mobile processing. Are you looking for a processor?

  48. 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

  49. 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.

    1. John,

      Actually, Square has a library system that you can preset for catagorized common items that you sell regularly (like a POS system) and yes, you can then accept CASH as your method of payment and have a record of all items sold along with your customer information.

  50. 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 Sundays 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 one where you donate $10 for AIDS. I enjoy being able to personalize my tips and receipts 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 reviews 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.

    1. Hi Courtney,
      I, too, am in a small non-profit organization. We’ve used Square for over 2 years and it’s been very easy and inexpensive for us. We find that for some of our higher-priced items, people would prefer to charge it. We’ve never had any problems with Square. I am proceeding cautiously with implementing the new Square device that takes the credit cards with the chip in it. I’m waiting for others to “experience” it and see what problems they have before I jump in. Bottom line: I highly recommend Square.

  51. 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.

  52. 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

    1. We host a horse show annually. Our show entries are charged through the virtual terminal ahead of the dates and then onsite charges go through the PayPal reader. Square will hold your funds up to 30 days if the actual credit card is not swiped. We quit using Square and started using PayPal Here and PayPal on a virtual terminal. All funds are available and deposited into bank account within 3 days. This included charges of $10,000.00 each. One $10,000.00 charge made on Square was held three weeks before showing up in our bank account. I can process additional charges anytime of the year.

      1. Read all the bad reviews about Square. I am still waiting to get $1600 from a month ago. You can’t talk to anybody.

        1. I agree. I own a plastic surgery practice in L.A. Square have our $10K funds in hold for 90 days and on top of that they cancel our account after 3 times verification process. Nice company to deal with!! Shame on them.

      2. PayPal is NOT 2nd Amendment friendly. It is never used on GunBroker, you should note. People who use it there never mention the merchandise.

        1. Hi Ken,
          Please note that PayPal and many other processors cannot support firearm sales, either. It’s not necessarily a political decision. Firearms are classed as a “high risk” business (along with other industries such as travel, telemarketing, adult services, tobacco, and more) which means that businesses need to work with a processor who can explicitly underwrite for firearms or high risk.

          We have an article about firearm credit card processing available here:

    1. Just to clear this up, neither PayPal nor Square can be used for firearms. This is (likely) not due to PayPal or Square’s political beliefs, but rather the fact that firearm sales are considered a “high risk” business. There are multiple “high risk” categories, including travel services, debt collection, adult entertainment, etc. and the reasons high risk industries are classed as such vary.

      There are some processing companies that are not equipped for or want to take on the expense or risk level of providing processing services to industries deemed “high risk” and PayPal and Square both fall into that category. However, there are plenty of other processing companies that can support firearms sales, including ones through CardFellow, such as processing giant TSYS.

    2. Can’t do firearm related items or anything considered “adult” via PayPal.
      Used to run an airsoft business and the handful of customers I still work with have to get charged via Square. Also have had my PayPal freeze my account for “adult content”, I sell leather footwear and clothing… they saw a barely even kinky leather top on a clear mannequin and freaked.

      1. Just as a note, Square also does not allow firearm sales or adult items. Those (along with several other industries) are considered “high risk” transactions for various reasons, and many processors can’t/won’t support those purchases.

    3. Hi Matt,
      Please note that PayPal also does not permit firearm sales. This is not a political decision, it’s based on the fact that firearm sales are considered a “high risk” business (along with other industries like travel and tobacco) so only certain processors allow firearm sales.

  53. Jason Carmichael

    I use both.
    Square is ten thousand times better for a restaurant. Its menu interface will work for 90% of restaurants.

    PayPal Here puts the money in PayPal right now. I have a PayPal Merchant debit card, and the instant I charge someone, I can use the money right there on the card. I do this all the time with my mowing business where a neat interface isn’t needed, but money on the card to get gas is.

    1. Jason Carmichael

      The Bluetooth device is $49 for Square, and $149 from PayPal.

      BUT PayPal gives you a $100 rebate after you charge $3000, within 3 months. So if you have a busy business and do over a $1000 a month in card charges then the price is the same.

      And no, the are not compatible with the other. My Square nfc/chip reader will not work with PayPal.

    2. Jason Carmichael

      Square has a far superior customer Management system. Square is extremely user friendly when it comes to linking to your repeat customers.

      Both will operate receipt printers. I like Square better though, because I have two printers, one for the cook line and one for the register. The cooks don’t care how much the prices are, just the order.

      Both operate cash drawers.

      Square can work with a barcode scanner too.

  54. Beware– PayPal is not a bank and they don’t operate within banking regulations.

    We have used PayPal for selling things on E bay and for our small business websites, but have been leery of the company since we had our $11,000 account limited (frozen) years ago. It was very hard to get hold of anyone at PayPal, and we never did find out why they froze the account.

    Now it has happened again, and I can’t get a live person on the line at PayPal, after being put on hold for 30 minutes. They don’t respond to our emails.

    We are in the process of setting up an event and need payment processing for registration. I would feel like an idiot if I continued to use PayPal, in light of the problems we have had with them.

    1. I agree 110% – sounds like you’re in a business that was close to mine. I literally decided to do art and sell online instead of running an event planning company because of this. At least it was one of the top reasons!!!
      PayPal went into my account and took every dime of the money I had in my business checking. I found out when getting gas for my car. I was livid. 4 hours on the phone until finally reaching an American sounding person who actually was as appalled as I was about this situation. It was so bad I even filed a police report for theft. It’s a long story but this was highly illegal, unwarranted, and completely unethical. I hope and pray that someone catches up to PayPal soon because as of now I am at a loss of who to choose to process payments on my website. I am researching Square now. Hopefully I can find a free trial version so I can see how the interface looks. I wish people would stop using PayPal so they would just go out of business but then again hopefully they’ll drive a competitive force that will soon beat PayPal on every level so that we can have a legit payment processor.If anyone has any great alternatives I’m all ears!!!

    2. PayPal is located in my hometown Omaha, NE. I never really had a problem with getting a hold of anyone, however, I am so glad I love to read. I was going to get PayPal Here, but I will be doing direct on the spot sales, so I really can’t and won’t wait forever to get my money. You get your goods, I get my money real simple, they will know as soon as they see the product if they want to buy it, so what do you do in this situation?

      1. I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. It takes a few days for money to be deposited in your account with any credit card processor, unless they offer an instant funds option, which is only available from some companies and comes with an extra fee.

    1. You’d be able to initiate a chargeback on your credit card, but that’s the extent of my knowledge on it. You’ll need to contact Square directly for further assistance.

  55. I work with Heartland and they are amazing. Their cost and customer service is way better than Square or PayPal. They answer the CS line in 10 secs or less. Plus they dropped my AMEX pricing way lower.

  56. How long does it normally take for your Square to be up and running (from order to activation)?

    As far as Chip Reader technology, what are some of the experiences that users have had with the Square technology? I would presume that the majority of my transactions would be done using the Chip Reader.

    1. It took me 5 minutes and I was up and running (manually input CC info), the reader was sent later.

      PayPal took several weeks, bank verification, etc..

      I like Square, very, very user friendly.

      1. I agree, I have been with Square over 18 months, never an issue. In the last week on 2 separate occasions, we were unable to take client payment, for several hours due to some 3rd party issue (per Square). Starting to look around for a back-up provider just incase Square implodes.

      2. NB it is possible to buy both PayPal and Square readers from local stores. So you don’t have wait for shipping.

  57. I tried them both and they both don’t have a good customer integration system. You can’t look up an order by customer etc. I found Shopify POS for $9 a month with just about the same fees, 2.7%. Customer integration is great, the only disadvantage is if you have two locations you can’t separate the inventory.

  58. A few things have changed with Square since this article was written I suppose. Square DOES offer electronic invoicing, both via the Squareup website and via your mobile device. Also, another feature some business owners may like with Square is that tracking your inventory is hands down better than Paypal.

    Personally, I think that if you are looking into which company to use you should see what other features they provide. I’m a Scentsy rep and I now run 100% Square because of all the options and features they offer me. I do really wish their customer support was better at times, but overall I think you get more bang for your “transaction buck” with Square.

  59. After what I just went through in the last couple of days with PayPal I will forever discourage people to get PayPal and go with Square. I run my own PC repair/support business. I was approved, having already been with PayPal almost ten years I thought it the best way to go. Well listen up. My first three transactions were typing in the credit card, since I usually work from home, and of course, their cc reader hadn’t arrived.

    After your first $500 PayPal actually holds the amount for 30 days or more. I called the representative and I was like “well I’ve had PayPal for years so what’s the problem” they proceeded to tell me “that’s how it works until you develop better selling habits.” I run a computer help and repair, where I remote into my clients servers, or PCs and fix the problem, so accepting a credit card payment over the phone shouldn’t be a biggy. Right?? Wrong! So basically I did two days or about $1,500 worth of of work, they gave me the first $500 and the other $1,000 is in there or in my pending balance for the next 30 days, just because I typed in the credit card. Mind you I sent them the receipts for the transactions. This is incredible, and a joke. I think it’s horrible, 30 days?? This day and age maybe 2 or 3 days for it to clear, I can even do seven for it to clear with the bank but really 30 days??? Square took me through a two day process and after sending them my ID and a copy of my receipts everything went smoothly. It goes into my bank account after a day or so, or I can choose to have it immediately sent to my account for a 1% fee. The choice is clear. Hope you don’t make the same mistake.

    1. I just signed up with PayPal and I’m having the same issue. First sale was $75 no problem it was available instantly. Second, third and so on I check my balance and it’s $100. They clear the first $100 dollars for keyed in credit charges for the month of December. 21 days later I’ll get the $2,370 from the other 43 sales I made. Now they released the first $100 I rang in for Jan. Then everything else is a 21 day hold for the rest of the month. Jan 16 they say another $390 from Dec. will be released. Had to borrow $ from my family or they would have put me out of business. Jan 25th all my $ will be released. I said released not cleared. I looked over everything pretty good. Nowhere does it say 21 days they will hold anything in excess of $100. Won’t use them any more. I switched to Square. Don’t have money laying around that I can afford to let them make interest on for three weeks. I give them two thumbs down!!!!

        1. PayPal is really unprofessional. They don’t inform customer about problems. As a business owner, I don’t have the time and money for this. Really a time waster.

    2. I use Square for mobile and PayPal for eBay. Never had issues with either. I got quick response with either when I needed info. I will be running a PC shop and may just stay with both, Square for mobile and PayPal for invoicing. Have not found a better processor for cards that don’t require a monthly fee or a high sales amount per month.

    3. I agree! I debated which one to use so I ordered the Paypal. Then I get the email saying they will give me my first $500, then hold the rest for 30 days. It’s BS. I promptly ordered a Square!

    4. To avoid the hold, you can actually just email a invoice to your customer, through PayPal, let your customer enter the CC info for payment, and you have your $$ immediately.

    5. Quin tin Watkins

      Good to know. I just got off the phone with PayPal because, like you, they are holding over half of my funds for 30 days. Mind you they have already taken them out of my customers accounts, but I won’t get them for 30 days. Unbelievable!! They said Square will do the same thing so I’m glad to hear they won’t.

      1. Just for clarification, Square – and any other processor – can hold funds or require reserves. There are a number of factors that affect the actual amount, length of time the funds will be held, etc. but the processor will communicate it with you.

  60. Curious Minds

    Why is the title of this post “PayPal Here Vs. Square 2017” when most of these comments are obviously not from 2017?

    1. Because the content of the article is accurate as of 2017. We regularly update our content to ensure that it’s current, and often include the year to reflect that. This post was most recently updated in March of 2017.

      1. I don’t think that’s correct. I was looking at the square website before finding this comparison, and it looks like they do have a customer support number and they do offer a POS system with invoicing. I don’t know if they’re GOOD, but the website says they offer them.

        1. Hi Shelly,
          As noted in the article, Square provides a customer support number only for existing clients who get a code before calling in. Even with that, some users have experienced difficulty reaching customer service. Given that the support number doesn’t allow just anyone to pick up the phone and call, we don’t consider that to be offering a customer service phone number.

          You’re correct that invoices were inadvertently not listed in the bullet points of ways to pay. That has been updated. Thanks!

          1. It appears that the most important piece of information has not been updated, which is Square’s percentage. It is now 2.65%.

      2. I don’t believe the statement that PayPal processes check has been valid since 2012, when they stopped the option.

  61. I don’t see how Paypal has the advantage as far as getting the money more quickly. I’d rather have the money in my checking account in 1-2 business days than have it in my Paypal account immediately and then have to take 3-5 business days to move it to my checking account.

    1. If you have a PayPal business account you can get a cash back debit card that draws directly off of your PayPal balance and will allow you to access the money at an ATM. Also, Paypal transfers funds to my bank the next business day after my first transfer.

    2. I recently got an email from Square that said we did a 2,300,016.00 day. Really. Aside from the fact that we did NO transactions that day, I have a problem with a company with this sloppiness having access to any bank account of mine.

    3. WIlliam Redhawk

      I have used Paypal for years and I have a Paypal debit Card for my account. The money is available for use as soon as it is received and I can withdraw from an ATM if I wish.

  62. Charles Smith

    No mention of the very short battery life on the PayPal Here reader. You can almost see the battery level decrease in front of your eyes. The Square reader battery seems to last for ages.

    ps: the Square reader I just purchased in May 2017 does:
    Chip and PIN (EMV)
    Touch (NFC)

    The free card swipe device – reads the card magnetic stripe if the card is not Chip & PIN

  63. Joel L Gandelman

    I’m a nationally performing comic ventriloquist and love using Paypal — the website. I have tried for two years to use Paypal to process credit cards. In 90 percent of the cases I have had problems. In three of them I had to get on the phone while the client waited. In several, I gave up and the client issued a check which was not what they expected to do. I just signed up for Square and have not used the very latest Paypal app. But I HAVE talked to them over the past few months so I’m going to try Square first. I may retry paypal and leave my evaluation here, but truly I’ve hurt myself telling people I can take credit cards and going through this. The top swiper never worked on my phone for some reason. I had to punch in the codes and it kept rejecting my password, etc. So I’m doing Square (starting this Saturday). After a few months I’ll try Paypal again but, quite honestly, I’m sick of saying “NEVER AGAIN!” trying it again and having problems after a show. I WILL do a comparative review after a few months.

    1. PayPal doesn’t seem to care much about clients, if you have problems it’s not their problem. We are switching to Square as well.

      1. Same here. Many of my mobile salesmen had way too many problems with PayPal Here. We’ve all switched to Square. And the capabilities within Square’s web interface is very impressive, and simply laid-out. When I told PayPal that we’re switching, they could care less.

  64. I have read that the PayPal reader does not hold its charge for long. Could anyone tell me how long it does hold and how to you re-charge the devise? How long does it take to re-charge?

  65. If a card has a chip do I absolutely have to have the chip reader device, or since cards with chips obviously have the strips still, will simply swiping the card work to process a payment?

    1. Hi Toree,
      The cards will still work if you swipe them even though they have a chip, but you’ll be liable for fraud if anything happens. If a customer issues a chargeback, you’ll also lose. I hope this helps!

      1. My PayPal Here reader no longer works with credit cards that have a chip. It used to when I first got it a few years ago. Now I have to type in the credit card information for cards that have a chip and I believe that costs a little more. I think it stopped working around the same time all the credit cards began getting chips. I can only swipe cards with no chip and just about all cards have chips now. I need to get a chip card reader now but I’m not sure which one I should buy.

        1. Did you try cleaning the reader? I have the non chip reader and I am able to swipe chip cards. Try wrapping a thin cloth (eye glass cloth works well) around a credit card and swipe a few times to clean the reader.

      2. I had a charge back from a customer that was trying to scam me. He said he never received the item even though he did. It took weeks and many phone calls (approx. 8 calls) to Paypal to get my money back. Not to mention the time and frustration. I had receipts that he had signed and it still took a long time. They would rule in his favor but I kept calling. In the end I did get my money back.

      3. Our PayPal readers don’t work with chip cards either. We have tried many times on more than one device. We are switching to Square, and that is just one reason why. PayPal customer service hasn’t been a help the past few times we called.

  66. What makes me mad about Square is that they hold any Friday charges until Sunday night deposit. So they are making interest on my money for 3 days. That is dirty.

  67. PayPal is way worse especially if you’re in 2019, PayPal used to be the best option but are horrible to sellers and freeze their money to make interest off of it a lot. I got my funds frozen just two months ago and have to keep opening new accounts just to keep up. Unfortunately, most of my customers prefer PayPal so I’m stuck with them but they are horrible now. If you sell digital products on their platform without a tracking number you’re screwed. They also hold your hold money until you clear a tracking number as well.

    I just started using Square but I did like the fact that I got my money to deliver to my bank account within hours not sure how weekends work just yet but I’m more pleased with them as I don’t keep my money in Square anyways.

    I can’t speak too much about Square but I like them better than PayPal already. PayPal is the worse but if you run an e-commerce business or eBay store you pretty much have to use it unfortunately but never keep your money in PayPal withdraw it to your bank or debit cards immediately.

    1. Hi Sam,
      Thanks for sharing your experience! Just as a heads up, freezing accounts is not limited to PayPal. It’s somewhat common among the “aggregator” companies (PayPal, Square, Stripe..) due to their lower risk tolerance. They also do not make interest off of held funds.
      – Ellen from CardFellow

  68. Pierre-Marcel De Mussac

    LOL @ PayPal having any kind of support whatsoever, how much did they pay you for this BS?

  69. Mary Ellen Hagglund

    I think you have the support completely reversed. We’ve used both PayPal & Square for our bed & breakfast. Square has been delightful to work with. If we’ve ever had an issue, a simple e-mail will get it resolved or a call back – IN THAT ORDER. They fix things & if they can’t or need information, they arrange to call you – QUICKLY. Emailing PayPal is a blind hole; any call takes at least an hour assuming you’re only on hold for a few minutes. They have to send you to several people to resolve even the simplest of issues.

    PayPal has been so bad we closed all our accounts with them & three months later they are still charging us for our on-line processing account. Just terrible …

  70. Steven and Maya Nettere

    Today is October 29, 2019.
    We have been using Square for 5 years or so with zero issues. Had questions once and an email got the answers. The reader/swipe scanner is bullet proof – it always works. Money is there next day with NO input or work required by the user.
    Very close to an actual truthful comparison to Paypal is the opposite of each statement made above. Paypal Here has issues every day…The scanner rarely works smoothly, making us crazy in front of the client. Money takes days to arrive. I am on hold right now with PayPal Here customer service – it’s been 38 minutes. I am cancelling our account with Paypal Here as they harm my business every day for the reasons listed here. I have no relationship with Square, I just use them because they are the best and beat the heck out of Paypal Here in every metric except its linkage to the Paypal world.

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