PayPal Here vs. Square: Accessible Card Readers

The ability to take a credit and debit cards is a powerful thing when it comes to giving your customers choices. For a long time, swiping cards wasn’t a very cost-effective option. But now, small businesses have more options than ever for card processing hardware. Square has revolutionized the way we process credit and debit cards, drastically lowering the barrier for entry. But PayPal has stepped up with their own system, and they know a thing or two about revolutionizing the way we pay for things. We’re comparing the two services, so small business owners know what they’re getting into before they commit.

Fees and Services

Every dollar counts when you run a small business. It makes sense to pick the service with the lowest fees. It turns out that both payment companies are fairly similar. Both PayPal Here and Square accept all forms of credit. They also let you key in card numbers by running them if you need to, they’ll record cash transactions, and much more. PayPal Here is slightly cheaper at 2.7% per US card swipe, while Square charges 2.75%. Both companies charge 3.5% plus $0.15 for keyed in cards. PayPal offers the unique ability to request a payment from a customer through an invoice, and this service costs 2.9% plus $0.30 per invoice.

Additional Features

Square has put a lot of effort into its eCommerce offerings to include many services for free. They give you next-day deposits, inventory management, chargeback protection of up to $250, and analytics and sales reporting. Square also offers several extra features like payroll, marketing, and loyalty programs at an additional cost. PayPal Here offers inventory management, multiple users, and sales reports, but there are no options for loyalty programs, marketing, or payroll like with Square.


Square has four different hardware products. A magstripe reader is free with every account, which can read debit and credit cards. (You can buy the magstripe reader and receive a voucher for credit with Square.) They also sell a chip card/contactless reader for a list price of $49.99. Finally, there’s a stand for a full point of sale system which usually goes for around $169. (Be aware that you will also need an iPad that fits in the stand for this to work. It’s still one of the cheaper point-of-sale options out there, especially if you find an affordable iPad. Perhaps a refurb?) Square also has accessories you can purchase, like a dock for the readers, and partners who make compatible equipment like USB and Bluetooth receipt printers.

PayPal Here has fewer options. They do sell a mobile card reader that lists at $15.96 and is often less. They also have a larger chip card reader on their site for $79, which is more expensive than Square’s chip card reader. The larger chip reader connects using Bluetooth, while the mobile card reader only connects via a phone or tablet audio jack. If you want a larger POS system, PayPal Here may not be the best option.

Customer Service

Customer service and technical support are essential for any small business. Not being able to make a transaction hurts any business, but it’s even more painful when you don’t have margin for error. So, which company will help you get up and running the fastest?

Square offers customer support through an online help center, which is a thorough and detailed section of their website that covers pretty much any issue you may encounter. The company also provides assistance through social media (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube), as well as a “contact us” form, phone support, and a seller community forum.

PayPal Here also has a help center, their Merchant Services Hub, which is organized by topic. Users also have the option to contact them through social media (Twitter and Facebook), phone, email, and a PayPal community forum.