PayPal. Square. Stripe. We all know the names of these three payment processors— and even if you’re not familiar with them, you’ve definitely used them. PayPal will be the most familiar for everyone, as it’s one of the first online payment processors to enter the market way back in 1998. You’ve also likely used Square at a local restaurant, coffee shop, or retail shop. We’ve all used Stripe, although you may not know it— Amazon, Shopify, and Google all trust Stripe as their payment processor. Let’s take a closer look at the different options for your business.
You don’t get to be as popular as Stripe, PayPal, and Square without meeting some basic qualifications. No matter which of the three you choose, they’re all secure. They all provide end-to-end encryption to protect you and your client’s financial information, and they all meet PCI Compliance Standards, which is a great place to start in terms of security.
All three companies also offer month-to-month billing plans, with no subscription requirements, so that you only pay transaction fees when you’re making money. Said another way, if you go a month without any transactions, you won’t pay any fees. They only make money when you make money.
Differences: Perks and Deal Breakers
We’ve established that all three companies will help you accept transactions from your client in a secure way, and do not necessarily require more than a month’s commitment at a time. Great! Now it’s time to take a closer look at what sets them apart from each other.
Ideal Business Types
Square is well known for their little square card readers that can be attached to smartphones or terminals. Their company was geared towards in-person transactions from the beginning, and while they can accept payments online, that isn’t where this company shines. They offer programs specifically geared for restaurants and retail establishments and are a great option for these types of businesses. Square is also easy to set up, and they provide card terminals as part of package plans.
PayPal is a bit of a workhorse. It’s a great option for both online and brick and mortar businesses. PayPal has a fast, “plug and play” set-up for websites, but offers little in the way of customization without a monthly subscription fee.
Stripe is ideal for online businesses, marketplaces, and B2B (Business to Business) transactions. However, Stripe is a customizable online payment API. This is why you don’t see as many small businesses taking advantage of their top tier services, because it requires a developer to integrate their secure technology. Like many of the most customizable, beautiful technology solutions, this one is not as plug and play. But, that’s why it’s great to work with a software like Goodshuffle Pro! Goodshuffle Pro’s engineers have already done the tough technological integration into the software solution, so that businesses can enjoy the same plug-and-play nature of the less elite processors by simply activating a Goodshuffle Pro account. . All you have to do is enter your financial information in Goodshuffle Pro to connect your account with Stripe, and then you're ready to accept payments!
While most of our readers are in North America, it is important to discuss any global accessibility shortcomings. PayPal has the broadest offerings, providing service to over 200 countries and regions. Stripe is next in line, accepting over 135 different currencies, making them a great global contender. Square has the smallest international footprint, only accepting payments from the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, the UK, and Japan. It may also be important to note for our on-location event profs that Square doesn't accept payments from the following US territories: the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa.
Not surprisingly, all three payment processors accept the standard major credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express. However, it is important to note that PayPal does not accept ACH payments unless you subscribe to their Pro account, which is $30 per month! ACH payments are extremely popular for event companies, because they require much lower transaction fees than credit cards, which can be important for large scale events. Stripe doesn’t require any monthly fee for this additional popular option.
Receiving money is the main reason you use a payment processor, so it’s important to understand how long it will take you to receive your funds after payment. Payouts are pretty similar. Stripe and Square will give you a payout within 2 business days, whereas Paypal typically takes 2-3 business days. As any small business owner knows, that extra day can really make a difference!
Fees are a non-negotiable part of accepting credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, and other digital payment options. People are using cash less and less, so fees are something we just have to live with.
Stripe has the simplest transaction fee structure, at a flat 2.9% + $.30 for all card transactions.
Square is slightly more complicated, as their fee structure ranges from 2.5% + $.10 to 3.5% + $.15 per transaction, depending on the payment method used.
PayPal’s fee structure is by far the most complicated, with a range between 2.89% to 3.49%, with the additional fixed fee varying by country (e.g., $.49 USD and $.59 CAD).
Not only are these more confusing structures frustrating and hard to predict, but they can lead to negative client relations. Many of these variations are based on the type of card a client uses, so business owners end up in the sticky situation of asking clients not to use a brand like American Express. Who likes being told what credit card you can use? With a simpler, brand agnostic fee, the cost (to you, or to your client, depending on whether or not you pass on fees) is always predictable.
We Chose Stripe— and Here’s Why
All three payment processing companies have their strengths and ideal applications, but we wanted to make sure that we chose a payment processor that would work for event profs, specifically.
- Security is a top priority at Gooshuffle Pro, and Stripe doesn’t skimp in that department. They have a built-in, machine learning fraud detection feature that helps protect you and your client’s financial data.
- Stripe is also meant to be integrated into an application, software, or website. This integration provides a seamless, high-quality, customized look and feel that you just can’t get any other way.
- We’re all about keeping things simple, and as you’ve seen, you can’t beat Stripe’s simple fee structure (no more surprise fees!)
- Stripe works well internationally. We know that some of our event profs travel, or live near a border where accepting international payments may be helpful, and we wanted to accommodate these professionals.
- Stripe is flexible. Stripe offers advanced developer tools and hundreds of integrations, which means Goodshuffle Pro will be able to grow to meet the changing needs of our clients.
Our goal is to help simplify your work life, and we firmly believe that Stripe helps us accomplish this goal. Simple fees? Check. A seamless, easy to use payment system? Check. High tech security features? Check. The ability to grow with our software? Check. What’s not to love?