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Credit Card App Comparison

Updated on August 21, 2012

I can remember when getting a merchant account was a nightmarish process. You had to give them tons of personal information, and were seemingly raked over the coals and asked for the promise of your first born just to get accepted. Even then they expected that you kept a minimum of business coming in each and every month, and charged you high per transaction rates. I often wondered why someone didn’t help the little guy just starting out in his or her new small business. Then one day Square, Inc. did just that, and started offering a card reader that worked on your smartphone, iPod Touch or iPad. Other companies like Intuit quickly followed suit, and now more recently even PayPal has gotten into the race.

Between these three companies there are small differences, but the devil is in the details. Depending on how you plan to accept credit cards, which operating system your smartphone uses, and transaction fees you’re willing to accept, all make a big difference in which credit card accepting service is best for you.

While not listed below in the chart, Intuit also offers a higher upscale service, BUT they also charge around $156.00 a year for it. What you get in exchange is a lower (1.7%) transaction fee. This is geared towards more established businesses. PayPal also offers a higher upscale service but they charge a whopping $360.00 per year for it. For most small businesses the standard plans should offer plenty of features.

For example; PayPal says that it will give you access to your money in minutes, BUT that money must be in a PayPal account, NOT your own business bank account. To transfer your money from your PayPal account into your own business bank account you’ll be waiting around 5 days. Intuit on the other hand will put your money into your business account much quicker (typically 2-3 days) and Square is even faster yet, as they give you access the very next business day. Also, regarding Paypal, if you process more than $2,500 in any 7 -day period, the additional money will be held in your account for 30 days.

The majority of people using an Android device have version 2.1, and they won’t even be able to use the PayPal service because it is not even compatible with Android 2.1. Apple iOS users have it much better as Intuit accepts iOS version 4.0, Square accepts iOS version 4.1 and PayPal requires iOS 4.3 or newer. PayPal also doesn’t offer an iPad version of their app, Intuit and Square however does. PayPal also charges an additional 2.5% charge for any currency conversion, and a 1% charge to receive payments from another country.

Speaking of the iPad, if you use an iPad or iPhone to make your transactions and you want to keep track of your charges, you should know that you cannot use Intuit because their website is still in the dark ages and requires flash. Until they update their site with HTML5 you won't be able to view your transactions on your iPad / iPhone. You'll need to make s special trip back to your office and use your main computer to view your transactions. Hopefully soon the Intuit app will be more like the Square app which doesn't require you to log onto the Internet to view transaction history. The Square app also allows you to make refunds straight from your iPad / iPhone.

So as you can see you first have to make sure that your device is compatible with the credit card app, and then go from there. None of the companies charge a set-up fee, or require a monthly minimum, probably because there is so much competition these days to get your business. Size wise the Square credit card reader is the smallest. It easily will fit into a small purse or your pocket. The Intuit is slightly bigger followed by the PayPal reader which is the largest.

PayPal and Intuit charge 2.7% for their basic swipe rates, and Square charges slightly more at 2.75%. However if you need access to your funds from your bank business account the very next day then Square is still your best bet. If you can wait a few extra days then Intuit will give you slightly more profits in your pocket. If you do a lot of business with Diners Club customers, then Intuit currently is the only app that accepts that card. PayPal says that it accepts checks, BUT if you do this then it takes around a week for those checks to clear. They would clear in around half the time if you simply deposited them directly into your business bank account.

I have made a chart below so that you can quickly see the main differences between these three top credit card app companies. You don’t have to use just one service either, and using multiple services might be to your benefit, as you learn which service fits your business better.

Square, Inc.
Intuit GoPayment
PayPal Here
Minimum Operating System
Apple iOS 4.1 / Android 2.1
Apple iOS 4.0 / Android 2.1
Apple iOS 4.3 / Android 2.2
App Version
2.3.1 (iOS) / 2.3.2 (Android)
Credit Cards Accepted
Visa, M.C, Amer. Ex, Disc
Visa, M.C, Amer. Ex, Disc
Visa, M.C, Amer. Ex, Disc
iPad Version
Deposits Made...
Next Day
Up To 3 Days
Immediately (goes to PayPal account)
Set-up Fee
Monthly Minimum
Swipe Rate
Manually Entered Rate
3.5% + 15 cents per transaction
3.5% + 15 cents per transaction
Monthly fee
None = standard, $5 advanced
Deposits Into...
Bank Account
Bank Account
PayPal Account
M.C.= Master Card, Amer. Ex.= American Express, Disc = Discover Updated 8/1/12


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    • AngelArs profile image

      AngelArs 5 years ago

      Thank you Patty! Glad it cleared up some of your questions. If you have any further questions simply let me know and I will be more than happy to sort everything out for you.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Voted UP, Interesting, and Useful!! I always wondered about how those services worked!! Thanks for sharing!!