When it comes to mobile payment options, Square and Paypal Here have the market cornered. These two companies both have millions of customers, and for good reasons. Customers at flea markets, conventions, and even yard sales appreciate the opportunity to pay with a card, as fewer and fewer people carry cash on them. Here we will compare the two options so you can make the best choice for your business.

Paypal Here

Paypal has long been a mainstay of payments made online, but in 2012 it expanded into mobile payments with Paypal Here. To get started, you will only need a Paypal account to request one of its free card readers. Please note that if you want a chip reader, there will be a fee involved — $150, with a $100 rebate if you process $3000 in the first 3 months. Paypal Here allows you to manually enter a card if the magnetic strip won’t scan, but it does not have an offline mode, meaning you could be in trouble if you end up selling somewhere without a good cell signal.

When it comes to the money itself, Paypal Here charges a 2.7% fee for each swiped transaction, and 3.5% plus $0.15 for each manually entered card. If you have a Paypal debit card, which can be easily obtained through the website, the funds you make are available to be used immediately.


Square as a company is younger than Paypal, beginning in only 2009, but its mobile payment service has been around longer. Square’s strip reader is also free, and their chip reader costs, but less than Paypal’s at only $30 or $49, depending on which model you want. Square does not allow you to manually enter cards, but it does let you swipe a card in ‘offline mode’, which it processes as soon as you get a signal in the following 72 hours. However, this leaves you responsible for any payments that don’t go through due to declined or expired cards.

For standard swipe transactions, Square charges 2.75%, very slightly more than Paypal’s, and the manual payments are the same rate. Square’s biggest downfall is its processing time; while Paypal payments are available immediately, Square takes 1 to 2 days to make the funds available to your bank account.

The Winner: Tie!

Both companies definitely have their winning points. Square’s chip reader costs are much lower than Paypal Here’s, but Square’s transaction fees are ever-so-slightly higher. Paypal allows you to use funds immediately, but only if you have the Paypal debit card. If you are hesitant to add another card to your wallet, Square deposits funds directly to your bank account, but takes 1 to 2 business days to be deposited. If you know you’re going to be somewhere with reliable cell or internet signal, Paypal may allow you more flexibility in case a card won’t swipe, but if you will be traveling around and are unsure of your connectability, Square’s offline processing can be a lifesaver.