PayPal vs Stripe vs Square: A comparison of the three biggest digital payment platforms for online small businesses

Online payment transmissions are becoming the fastest mainstays of many business transactions today.

In response to this demand, a good number of online payment processing services are available to meet your needs.

As a young business trying to find its way, it is important to identify the easiest, most reliable and user-friendly credit card payment system for your brand.

So, what is the best online payment tool for your day to day transactions?

To answer this question, we compare the heavyweights: Square, PayPal, and Stripe.


Square boasts of arguably a very reliable and relatively cheap online credit card processing for small businesses. With Square, you are guaranteed advantages such as no monthly fees, free recurring payments, identical rates for all major credit cards, and no hidden costs. It also allows you to carry out swipe and e-wallet payments, perform some transactions offline, and have multiple mobile users on the same account.

Over the years, Square has built a reputation for aiding small businesses through its simple and affordable credit card processing fees and contract terms.

However, there are a few snags which could hamper your transactions such as its inability to support windows devices, and its incompatibilities with certain PCs and laptops. Another problem is its lack of customer credit verification which can expose you to potential losses and fraud. This can sometimes lead to suspicious activities resulting in your account getting frozen and having your funds withheld.

Which brings us to one of the main complaints merchants have about Square’s policies: holding your money. Some users report processing limits that trigger a hold on your account for specific transaction types and sizes; however, Square has indicated that they’ve revamped their policies to allow transactions without processing limits.

So, for small businesses looking for an easy way to accept credit card payments that are relatively cheap and straightforward, Square is an option for you.


If you’re a brand-new business and you need a quick way to accept payments, PayPal is an excellent choice. When we look at PayPal, we see a payment option that possesses fast account setup for your business, allows for multiple users on the same account, easy to use, sends e-receipts and invoices, delivers a variety of business sales report, PCI DSS compliance, low startup costs and useful security features. All of this to help develop your business. PayPal is a household name offering certain securities that make customers feel safe and more confident doing business with you.

A few drawbacks include freezing your account, holding your money, and in some instances termination for certain size or types of transactions. Hence, if your business contains high risk, you may want to be careful here. Also, you’ll find folks complain about high transactions fee compared to other merchant accounts, inability to complete transactions without the cellular and internet connection, and inconsistent customer care service.

When it comes to its support for small businesses, tight security and trust, and the full range of operations and popularity, PayPal still tends to be a good choice.


With a powerhouse service, Stripe allows you to accept credit cards online without a merchant account. Stripe charges (same as Paypal) are affordable with no setup or early termination fees. This system supports Bitcoin and ACH, multiple programming languages, and recurring subscription revenue. Stripe is a very flexible payment system providing APIs to integrate with websites and mobile applications. And with robust fraud prevention, it protects you and your clients.

The major drawback with Stripe is that it requires expertise to use and a web developer to integrate the system to your website. For your small business just starting out it may not be your first option, however, once you get the hang of it, you will see why it is the choice of enterprise-grade companies.

E-commerce businesses are here to stay and growing every day. As a business owner, you need reliable software programs to collect payments online and create seamless transactions over the internet. To get the best payment processing service, focus on the features you need. Then select which platform can deliver said features, ultimately assisting in the smooth running of your business.