Monday, January 14, 2013

Square vs. PayPal Here

Both services are available
on the iPhone and Android.
Should we look at the benefits
of a square versus a triangle?
Howdy! I'm looking forward to talking with you about some really cool stuff I found out while looking at my options for accepting card payments in person. Square and fairly new PayPal Here are the only two that kept me reading longer than a minute. There are other options, but for a small business, I can't see any benefit in choosing them, so I'm just going to stick to these two. I've seen quite a few folks pitting Square vs. PPH as a veritable tie with no big differences. They aren't equals in my opinion, at all.

Let me start by saying it was super-tempting to whip up a fancy chart, but there are already plenty out there, I'm sure. Lol. I should also note... there are probably things that I won't mention here. Maybe some differences that could affect you or your business, but didn't hold any notable importance for me. Feel free to mention them in the comments if you would like to share.

For me, PPH was the clear "winner". The short of that being... its a tad cheaper, it allows me to take checks and Paypal payments. I was also sold on the instant funds availability with their debit card. I've listed the bulk of what I learned below. Have a look, and see what you decide. :)

Okay. I always look at price first. If that's an unreasonable amount, or beyond my budget, it puts a quick end to what could be a time consuming bit of research.

They just about tie. Both have a free start-up. Both will send you the little card reader for free. Square charges 2.75% and PPH charges 2.7% on each swiped transaction. Manually entered transactions they both charge 3.5% + $0.15.
Hmm... half of a percent. If you make a $45 sale, the difference is a whopping two cents.  ($1.2375 with Square and $1.215 with PPH.) That's 50 cents for every $1,000 in sales. Negligible.

I got to looking at this a little closer after seeing people mentioning that with 2.75% their totals were always being rounded up, therefore were paying a penny more with Square for each transaction. I had thought that might be a real issue. If you make 100 transactions a day, that's a dollar extra, right? Well, a hundred transactions at a penny each is definitely a dollar, but the .05% difference doesn't equate to always being rounded up. A $5 sale, they both get rounded up. It's 14 cents either way.

Hmm... Where's the price break then? What number keeps your fee from being rounded up? At the 2.7% rate, that number is a cool $4.99! You would only be charged 13 cents for that transaction. (Of course, you made a penny less on the sale too.) For the 2.75% rate, $4.90 cents is the magic sales total to avoid the penny being rounded up to 14 cents. So yep, there is a real difference in that respect. If a Square user and a PPH user both make 250 sales, and attempt to pay the exact same fees (13 cents per transaction), the PPH user can charge $4.99, while the Square user can only charge $4.90. Thus, the PPH user makes $22.50 more. Mind you, it becomes a rather moot point when you figure in taxes. >.<

Square deposits your money right into your bank account. Their website states it takes 1-2 days, but most folks say its deposited the very next morning. It's never the same day.
PPH on the other hand deposits your money immediately into your PayPal account. If you choose to transfer it to your bank, they state that process takes 3 days. BUT... If you have a PayPal debit card, your funds are available instantly from any ATM or POS location!
(When your funds become available, after deposit, is purely up to your bank, not Square or PayPal.)

Square has an online help center. The best I can sort out, that is all they offer. PPH, on the other hand, has a help center for email assistance as well as a phone number where you could potentially speak to a live person. PPH also has an extensive community-driven support area.

Square and PPH both allow you to handle taxes, discounts and tips. They both allow you to enter an itemized inventory if you like. Receipts are easy to text, email or print with both services, also.

Only the PPH service lets you accept a customer's personal check, and the processing for that is even free.
Something that really was nice for me was knowing that with PPH, I could also accept Paypal payments. Being able to accept payment for a purchase in person, the same way you would online, could really come in handy I think. I think a majority of folks have a Paypal account these days.

Some things I just couldn't find out enough information about. So after digging around a dozen forums and both of the service's websites... I only know this-
With PPH you can accept (and record) cash payments. This is actually a big deal considering that it meshes so seamlessly with Paypal's invoicing system. Don't lose track of buyers just because they paid with cash.
I would assume that Square offers the ability to give a refund, but they don't say anywhere that they do. PPH lets you give a complete or partial refund very simply.
And of no real use to me at this point, but awesome all the same, PPH allows you to set up multiple users. So if you have a friend helping you, they can accept payments on their device as well, and still have it set to all flow into your account. Sweet! There's no mention, I can find, of that sort for Square.
[If you know more details about these last few things, I would love to hear them! Please leave a comment.
Hey, maybe I could find a Square user to compare notes with? That would be wonderful!]

I sure hope this helps someone with sorting it all out. Doing the research (and actually checking it all for accuracy) took a little while, but it was important to me. I'm sure it must be for others too.

With respect - @ndrea

Giving your child a Freedom Box.


  1. hey thanks for the info you have helped me decide to go with PPH

  2. update PPH doesn't work on tablets... square works on a whole lot more devices... im still holding out for PPH ive a got a few months before i will need to make a final decision...

  3. Mr. Clerk-

    I don't know if you read this or not... from the PPH site.
    (Look for the >>>> arrows >>>>, to find the pertinent parts.

    It looks like it depends a lot on whether you are using an Android tablet or an iProduct.

    Thanks a bunch for the update!

    Which mobile devices is PayPal Here available on?
    PayPal Here is currently available for both the iOS and Android smartphone platforms.
    Apple iOS
    PayPal Here is supported on most Apple mobile devices running iOS version 4.3 and above. The following devices are compatible and supported:
    iPhone 3GS
    iPhone 4
    iPhone 4S
    iPhone 5
    iPod Touch
    iPad (all models)
    iPad mini
    >>>>>>>> PayPal Here works today on iPad, however, we cannot guarantee full functionality. A native iPad app will be made available shortly. To download the PayPal Here app on an iPad, search within the "iPhone apps" section of the App Store.
    PayPal Here is available on most Android smartphones.

    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)

    To protect the financial information of your customers, the PayPal Here card reader provides encrypted data transfer. Due to encryption considerations, PayPal Here is not compatible with all Android devices. Click here for a full compatibility list.

    >>>>>>>> At this time, PayPal Here is not supported on Android tablets.


Thanks for your feedback!