Payanywhere vs Square: Which Payments Solution Is Best?
This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
When comparing Payanywhere vs Square, they may appear interchangeable because they both offer a free card reader and an app with point-of-sale (POS) tools. Plus, the credit card processing fees are similar: Payanywhere charges 2.69% per transaction; Square, 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction.
However, Square gets better reviews, offers better software, and generally provides a better value than Payanywhere, although small sellers with average sales below $20 will pay less in transaction fees by choosing Payanywhere.
- Payanywhere: Affordable option for small sellers consistently processing under $5,000 monthly with an average transaction value lower than $20.
- Square: Best for most small businesses, individuals, seasonal or occasional sellers, and those wanting free online and in-store POS systems.
Payanywhere vs Square Quick Comparison
3.6 out of 5
4.43 out of 5
Small-volume sellers that want low processing fees
New or small businesses, brick-and-mortar shops, and businesses on a budget
2.69% to 3.49% plus 19 cents per transaction
2.6% plus 10 cents to 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction
3.49% plus 19 cents
3.3% plus 30 cents or 1% for ACH bank transfers
Average Payout Speed
Free next-day funding; free same-day funding (for Smart Terminal users)
Free 1- to 2-day funding; instant funding for 1.5%
$3.99 per month after 12 months of inactivity
Online Payment Options
Virtual terminal, payment links, and add to your native app
Square Online store, payment links, add checkout to an existing site, Facebook, Instagram, and virtual terminal
Basic phone app is free; to use on POS hardware starts at $9.95 per month
Basic POS is free; advanced available starting at $60 per month
Multiple apps in 16 categories
Ease of Use
Phone support, chat, email, social media, and resource library
Monday to Friday phone support, 24/7 automated chat support, seller community, and resource library
*We include both Square and Payanywhere in our evaluation of best merchant services where Square took the top spot. Payanywhere did well but did not make our final list.
When to Use a Traditional Merchant Account
A brick-and-mortar store owner might want to consider opening an account with a merchant services provider instead of Square or Payanywhere to save on processing fees. Helcim, for example, offers some of the cheapest credit card processing rates for small businesses.
While using a payments app like Square or Payanywhere is easy and convenient, a traditional merchant account offered through a bank, such as Chase Payment Solutions, offers more security and stability and faster deposit times. Merchant accounts have a longer sign-up process, often charge fees, and may only work with businesses that make a minimum amount of monthly transactions—usually over $5,000.
Why Square Is Best for Most Businesses
Square tops our list of the best merchant services, best mobile credit card processors, and best POS systems for small businesses. It offers the best all-purpose payment and software solution for individuals, new businesses, and small businesses. In addition, it has advanced paid plans and tools for midsize businesses, from banking services to payroll, and offers custom solutions for large businesses, including reduced rates for high-volume sales. Thus, it can grow with you.
It is free and effortless to use and requires no application or commitment. See our guide to Square to learn more about its different product offerings to see if it’s right for your business.
See why Square tops so many of our evaluations:
Limited-time Offer for Fit Small Business Readers
Now through June 30, 2023, receive 20% off your first Square Terminal with the code “FSBSquare”. Visit Square to redeem.
*Terms and conditions apply
Best for Affordability: Square
Monthly POS Subscription
$0 to $39.95
$0 to $299 with add-on programs
Card Reader Pricing
$0 to $49
Terminal and Register Pricing
$249.95 to $949.95 plus setup fees and POS software subscription
$299 to $799 (all-inclusive)
Card-present Transaction Fees
2.6% plus 10 cents
Ecommerce Transaction Fees
3.49% plus 19 cents
2.9% plus 30 cents
ACH Transaction Fees
1% processing fee, minimum $1*
Waived up to $250 per month
*ACH payments available only through Square Invoices.
Learn more about Square’s costs in our detailed guide to Square fees and pricing.
The processing fees are similar, but if you need more hardware than a simple card reader, Square is by far the cheaper option. Its terminals are well-regarded by users and come with the software free. Payanywhere charges a subscription fee for software on its devices and has a $3.99 per month inactivity fee (after 12 months) if you stop using the app without canceling your subscription.
When Payanywhere Might Be More Affordable
Payanywhere’s 2.69% processing fee seems higher than Square’s 2.6% plus a 10-cent transaction fee. For most businesses, it is. However, for sellers with average sales below $20, such as cafes selling cups of coffee, Square’s fee per transaction would be higher than Payanywhere’s additional 0.09% charge per transaction. So, for merchants with low price points, Payanywhere could be more economical.
Best for Payment Processing: Square
Low-volume sellers with average sales under $20
Most individuals and small businesses
Moves you to its merchant account, which is a different contract
Discounted rates for merchants processing over $250,000 in annual credit card sales
Credit card, debit card, and contactless payments
Credit card, debit card, contactless payments, gift cards, and ACH
Simple, recurring, and autopay
Simple, recurring, and autopay
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance
Our scores for Payanywhere and Square in other articles make Square a clear winner. Both Square and Payanywhere offer flat-rate and transparent pricing for new and small merchants. Once your business starts to grow, Payanywhere will switch you over to a traditional merchant account that uses a tiered pricing model. Generally, we don’t recommend tiered pricing models for small businesses because they can be unpredictable. Learn more about Payanywhere’s pricing and plan options.
Quick Response (QR) codes payments are now a popular in-person payment option you can find in almost every mobile payment app. Payanywhere launched QR code payments on its platform in September of last year while Square’s have been available since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Square also now uses QR code technology for online ordering.
Meanwhile, Square does not offer tiered pricing. However, it offers custom discount rates for businesses processing over $250,000 annually. If your business does process this much, it’s likely neither Square nor Payanywhere is your best option. See our list of the best merchant services for small businesses to find the right payment solution for you.
Are you looking for a simple mobile-based payment method? Both Square and Payanywhere (recently added feature) offer text-to-pay payment methods. This allows you to send payment requests directly to your customer’s mobile device via text messaging.
Best for POS App: Square
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with low-price transactions
Startups, seasonal businesses, solopreneurs, budget-minded small businesses; custom solutions for large businesses
Industry-specific Software Options
One all-purpose POS with two themes” “terminal” and “retail
All-purpose, retail, restaurants, and appointments, CBD retail
Basic register, inventory, customer management, employee management; free for phone; monthly subscription if you use hardware
Free basic register, inventory, customer management, employee management; plans include advanced features, and add-on programs add more functions
Split tender, open tabs, discounts, tips, digital receipts, and refunds
Split tender, open tabs, discounts, tips, digital receipts, refunds, chargeback protection; simplified checkout for consumers with Cash App
Items, categories, modifiers, discounts, low stock alerts, barcode scanning, phone barcode scanning, reports
Variations, photos, inventory tracking, low-stock alerts, reports, barcode scanning
Customer information and purchase tracking
Customer information and purchase tracking, loyalty features, marketing
Time clock, scheduling, labor forecasts, employee roles with permissions, and track sales by employee
Time clock, permissioning, can add on Square Payroll and Team Management
QuickBooks and Homebase; need application programming interface (API) for others
Hundreds of apps in 16 categories
Square is the clear winner when it comes to sales features and functionality. While Payanywhere provides the basics for in-person and online transactions, Square offers many more online sales and customer management features.
Square is a recognized leader in sales for both in-store and online. Its free POS system is powerful enough for busy retailers and restaurants but simple enough for the hobbyist who only sells a few items at the farmers market. In 2019, it opened its services to cannabidiol (CBD) businesses. It offers more features than Payanywhere for customer support, and the paid plans have even greater functionality.
To see all of Square’s app features, read our Square POS review.
New Square Feature: Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
As of January 2022, Square Online sellers can now offer BNPL payments through Square’s integration with Afterpay, which was acquired by Block, Inc. (Square’s parent company). Before that, Square also launched a redesigned Square POS app, which allows users to tailor checkouts and navigation flows specifically for their unique business process.
This includes the ability to:
- Add customers seamlessly to your sales at checkout
- Customize the item grid and main menu
- Create open tickets (both for retail and restaurants)
- Refund payments to a gift card and more
When to Use Payanywhere
One handy feature Payanywhere offers that Square does not is mobile barcode scanning. Scan the barcode with your phone, and it can pull up the product. This barcode scanner can save you money on equipment and make it easier for employees on the floor to look up items for a customer.
Otherwise, Payanywhere is good when it comes to brick-and-mortar or mobile sales—but not on the level of Square. It does not offer a loyalty program, and most extra functions like marketing will require third-party integrations. Further, its online offerings are weak, consisting of only payment links and a virtual terminal.
New Payanywhere Features: Upgrade to Payanywhere Payments Hub
Payanywhere recently announced the launch of updates to the Payments Hub (Payanywhere’s merchant platform) which now includes the functionalities that allow you to:
- Create a branded customer payment portal
- Save a customer’s card on file from the Virtual Terminal or Invoice feature
- Send itemized invoices
- Set email notifications for invoice tracking
Best for Ease of Use: Square
Apple App Store rating
4.3/5 based on 1,100-plus reviews
4.8/5 based on 341,000-plus reviews
Google Play Store rating
3.7/5 based on 4,400-plus reviews
4.8/5 based on 171,000-plus reviews
Phone and support email
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time
Knowledge base with guides and video tutorials
Knowledge base with guides, videos, articles, and a seller community forum
Setting up and using Payanywhere and Square are equally easy, but when you get to the reliability of each payment processor, you can break that tie and give the win to Square. Just comparing how intuitive each app is designed, Square pulls ahead.
Square Is a Household Name for a Reason
Square became a household name because it brought payment processing to the small sellers without access to a merchant account—and it made it ridiculously easy to accept credit card payments. The app has easy-to-learn menus and categories, and the language used makes sense.
The user experience (UX) is an essential part of an intuitive interface, and Square gets it right with its POS app. You can create new items for your inventory, apply a discount to sales, and set up sales tax without having any prior experience.
Square gets points for designing an app that’s not only user-friendly but also stable. I’ve never had it freeze or crash and payments always go through.
Payanywhere Is Easy to Set Up But Can Be Unreliable
Getting started with Payanywhere is easy enough. If you choose the Pay As You Go plan, you’ll choose the reader you want and fill out a form with your contact information; then you can sign in and start setting up your profile and inventory. The Payanywhere app is easy to use, and it includes a Test Drive feature, which allows you to try it out before you commit.
As it applies to apps and payment processing software, intuition is such a subjective thing. But when comparing Payanywhere to Square, it doesn’t quite hit the intuitive mark. You can switch between a typical terminal view and retail view, and it isn’t immediately obvious where to go to find inventory (Payanywhere labeled this setting “Themes”).
Despite how easy Payanywhere makes it to start accepting credit cards for payment, it has some issues. The app often freezes, won’t load photos, and crashes—and you have to kill the app, then restart it to use it again. These are the sorts of glitches you don’t need when you’re trying to accept someone’s credit card, and you could quickly lose a customer’s trust.
Best Hardware: Square
Square and Payanywhere boast similar hardware offerings, with mobile card readers for the phone, a handheld mobile terminal, and a standalone terminal. Hardware prices are also somewhat similar but Payanywhere’s software for its smart terminals are an add-on cost.
When to Choose Payanywhere
Since our last update, Payanywhere removed its 2-in-1 mobile card reader which they offer for free for new merchants. Its 3-in-1 card reader is still available for $59.95 and is ideal for business owners who prefer a more handy, single device to carry around when accepting payments on the go. Payanywhere also offers a more ergonomic terminal that is easier to carry than the Square Terminal.
Square Magstripe Card Reader
Square Contactless and Chip Card Reader
First free, additional $10
$299 or $27 per month for 12 months
Available with lightning or audio jack input; accepts payments via magstripe (swiped)
Connects via Bluetooth; accepts payments via EMV (chip) or near-field communication (NFC) like Apple Pay or Google Pay
All-in-one credit card machine with POS, card reader, and receipt printer
New and improved Square Terminal: Square recently made upgrades to its Square Terminal by making this hardware available to its merchants using the Square Retail and Square Appointments software. Square Terminal also now has an offline mode so users can complete transactions and accept payments even without an internet connection.
$149 or $14 per month for 12 months
$799 or $39 per month for 24 months
All-in-one credit card machine with POS for iPads and built-in card reader
Fully integrated POS system with a detachable customer display; accepts chip cards and contactless payments
3-in-1 Bluetooth Credit Card Reader
(Several models available)
$249.95 to $449.95 plus $9.95 to $19.95 per month software fee
Connects via Bluetooth; accepts payments via EMV (chip) or NFC (Apple Pay, Google Pay)
All-in-one credit card reader with POS
Payanywhere Smart Flex
Payanywhere Smart POS+
$549.95 plus $49.95 setup fee and $19.95 per month software fee
$949.95 plus $99.95 setup fee and $39.95 per month software fee
All-in-one credit card machine with POS, card reader, and receipt printer
Fully integrated POS system with attached customer display, card reader, and printer; accepts chip cards and contactless payments; Android only
In the battle of Payanywhere vs Square, you could go either way because the two payment processors are so similar and competitive. The free basic POS apps from both companies are easy to use and close to equal in their offerings. Square, however, offers more in terms of functionality, stability, and ease of use.
It is an excellent payment processor and free POS system for any individual or small business owner. It includes support for ecommerce sellers and mobile and storefront sellers. You can get started accepting payment as soon as you create an account with Square. Sign up for free today.