Square vs. PayPal vs. Intuit

Square's low rates and Intuit's broad offline reach make them both serious competitors to the dominant Web player in PayPal. So, who will win the hearts, minds and business of retailers? Website Magazine has taken on the task of comparing these vendors' features but it hasn't been an easy task.

Accepting payments through mobile card processors, which makes it possible for retailers (or anyone really) to use their smartphone to accept credit/debit cards without expensive, bulky point-of-sale systems, is quite appealing. Smartphones provide a convenient platform, the providers (such as Square, Paypal and Intuit) offer free hardware (and software) and for the most part the rates are quite affordable (read "reasonable").

Square started the craze several years ago but it has since been picked up by other big players including PayPal and Intuit - two entities with very close ties to the small business community (those most likely to use the solutions). When examining which platform is right for your enterprise (and its clients), it's important to know something about the hardware quality and any support that's provided, but for most the processing fees, or what you pay for the privilege of accepting payments on the go, will prove to be the primary consideration.

PayPal Here: PayPal offers a 2.7 percent processing fee - regardless of sales volume or item pricing. Technically, the fee is only 1.7 percent but only if the money is used with PayPal's debit card (which is free and offers 1 percent cash back). Square: Square offers a 2.75 percent processing fee on all sales regardless of price or volume, but also offers a flat-rate option - $275 per month with a zero percent processing fee. That averages out if you're selling more than $10,000 per month.

Intuit GoPayment: Two pricing structures exist which are similar in nature to Square (see above). Intuit charges 2.75 percent on all swipes, or, sellers can opt-in to a $13 monthly plan which makes the per swipe rate just 1.75 percent. That averages out if you're selling $1500 per month.

Payment processing fees aren't the only considerations you'll need to make - hardware/software and support are additional, important considerations. Fortunately, the decision won't be too complex on the hardware front. If you're a current QuickBooks users (like many small business users) then Intuit's GoPayment (which also offers the lowest rates) is ideal. If you're processing a low volume of payments and will use (or can use) the proceeds with a debit card, PayPal's Here solution is a good one. Square of course provides a reliable device but doesn't come with any support per se.


The decision is yours. There's no one "right" payment processing solution for smartphones - but Paypal, Intuit and Square are most definitely your leading contendors - or should be.