Disclosure: Our editorial staff write reviews independently. We may be compensated if you sign up for a service through our affiliate links.

Why would anyone choose QuickBooks Payments over Square Payments?

If you take payments online and in person, Square is likely to do it all. QuickBooks, on the other hand, has a narrower range of payment options, but leads on the accounting side. In addition, Square has long been the leader in credit card readers that work with an app, but GoPayment is a card reader app specifically for QuickBooks users.

Each platform has their benefits – so what are the key differences?

Square Intuit QuickBooks
Card reader price $0-$49 $0-$49
Chip, tap, swipe fee 2.6% + 10¢ 1.6%-2.4% + 25¢/30¢
Keyed transactions 3.5% + 15¢ 3.2%-3.5% + 25¢/30¢
Account fee None $0-$20/mo
Contract No commitment No commitment
Payouts 0-2 business days 0-3 business days
Accepted cards VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican Express VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican Express
Contactless ContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay ContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay
Square QuickBooks
Card reader price
$0-$49 $0-$49
Chip, tap, swipe fee
2.6% + 10¢ 1.6%-2.4% + 25¢/30¢
Keyed transactions
3.5% + 15¢ 3.2%-3.5% + 25¢/30¢
Account fee
None $0-$20/mo
Contract
No commitment No commitment
Payouts
0-2 business days 0-3 business days
VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican Express VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican Express
ContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay ContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

Square has more payment features

Square is a popular, multi-channel payment platform for small businesses. It offers its own credit card readers, point of sale (POS) systems, online store builder, invoicing, virtual terminal, appointment scheduling, business finance and many more tools for your online and in-person business.

QuickBooks is famous for its accounting software for any size business. It has an integrated payment processing system called ‘QuickBooks Payments’ that allows users to accept transactions online through email invoices, bank transfers and the mobile app ‘QuickBooks GoPayment’ connected to a card reader.

Payment feature Square
Payments
QuickBooks
Payments
Credit card processing
Card reader + app
Email invoicing
Debit card
ACH bank transfers
Ecommerce
Social media selling
MOTO payments
Payment
feature
Square
Payments
QuickBooks
Payments
Credit card processing
Card reader + app
Email invoicing
Debit card
ACH bank transfers
Ecommerce
Social media selling
MOTO payments

It’s possible to get a debit card from either platform, but only Square offers a Mastercard Debit for free to all users. QuickBooks Cash is a Visa Debit card with similar business account features, but it is not available to all users and may cost extra. These cards are meant to give direct access to transactions received and could count as your main business account.

Photo: Square

Square Business Card

Square Card gives immediate access to transactions received through Square.

Only Square has its own website builder, payment links to embed on websites and online ordering features integrated with its POS system. QuickBooks Payments can integrate with the external ecommerce builders Shopify and BigCommerce.

QuickBooks comes with a merchant account

Though both are referred to “credit card processors” on the web, QuickBooks and Square actually outsource their card processing to different acquiring banks:

  • QuickBooks Payments: Uses Fiserv (formerly First Data) for credit card processing

  • Square: Uses Chase Paymentech for 70% of its payments and other processors for the rest

It’s easier for Square to hide who their processor is, since users do not get their own merchant account. Instead, Square payments go through an aggregate merchant account (i.e. shared with many other businesses) that identifies individual users through their email address and Square account.

QuickBooks, on the other hand, provides users with their own merchant account (i.e. not shared) with a unique business ID number.

What has this got to do with payments? Aggregate merchant accounts tend to be monitored more strictly, meaning transactions deemed suspicious may be put on hold for weeks while checks are completed. With your own merchant account, payments tend to be more stable with a lower risk of withheld funds.

QuickBooks even goes a step further in transparency by showing transaction limits within your account so you can stay within those. This would prevent withheld funds like the ones Square users sometimes complain about. With Square, transaction limits are considerably less predictable, so it is recommended you do not have unusual payment patterns to avoid account holds.

Image: App Store

Intuit GoPayment app

The GoPayment app connects to QuickBooks card readers via Bluetooth.

Card readers

Square has a couple of app-based card readers (Square Reader for Contactless and Chip or Reader or Magstripe only), one standalone card terminal (Square Terminal) with software built in, and a full-sized POS register (Square Register) with a tablet and software built in. Since QuickBooks only has two app-based card readers, we will compare those with Square’s mobile card readers.

Mobile card readers connect with their associated app (Square Point of Sale or QuickBooks GoPayment) via Bluetooth – or the headphone jack/Lightning connector in Square Reader for Magstripe’s case. The app uses the mobile device to connect to the internet via the phone’s 3G, 4G or WiFi connection.

Square Reader for Contactless and Chip: Accepts EMV and contactless payments. Comes with a USB charging cable. Can be purchased with an optional charging dock. Weighs 56 grams.

Square Reader for Magstripe: Accepts swipe cards only. Plugs into your iPhone, iPad or Android device via the headphone jack or Lightning connector instead of connecting via Bluetooth. Weighs just 7 grams.

The credit card swiper doesn’t require charging, but the tap and dip reader does. The latter should last a whole day from a full charge.

Square Reader chip

Square Reader accepts tap and EMV cards.

3-in-1 QuickBooks card reader.

QuickBooks All-in-One Bluetooth Card Reader: Accepts EMV, swipe and contactless payments. Comes with a charging dock and USB cable. Weighs 70 grams without the dock.

QuickBooks Chip and Magstripe Bluetooth Card Reader: Accepts EMV and swipe cards only. Comes with a USB cable. Weighs just 44 grams.

The QuickBooks card readers can last 115 transactions from a full charge and connect to both the QuickBooks GoPayment app and QuickBooks Accounting app. The Chip and Magstripe Reader is even compatible with QuickBooks Desktop 2018+ software via USB cable. In other words, you can actually attach it to a computer running this software to accept payments instead of connecting it to a mobile app.

Contract and fees

Neither company requires commitment for their payment services. After signing up with QuickBooks Payments, you can cancel any time without a cancellation fee. With Square, you don’t even need to cancel as there is no monthly fee unless you subscribe to more specialized selling features.

Square Intuit QuickBooks
Setup fee None None
Contract lock-in None None
Merchant account fee n/a Pay-as-you-go: None
Monthly plan: $20/mo
Mobile card reader $0-$49 $0-$49
Chip, tap, swipe fee 2.6% + 10¢ 1.6%-2.4% + 25¢/30¢
Invoiced fee 2.9% + 30¢ 2.8%-3.5% + 25¢/30¢
Keyed card fee 3.5% + 15¢ 3.2%-3.5% + 25¢/30¢
Bank account deposits Free (+1.5% fee for instant payouts) Free (+1% fee for instant payouts)
ACH bank reject charge n/a $25
Chargebacks Free $25
Square Intuit QuickBooks
Setup fee
None None
Contract lock-in
None None
Merchant account fee
n/a Pay-as-you-go: None
Monthly plan: $20/mo
Mobile card reader
$0-$49 $0-$49
Chip, tap, swipe fee
2.6% + 10¢ 1.6%-2.4% + 25¢/30¢
Invoiced fee
2.9% + 30¢ 2.8%-3.5% + 25¢/30¢
Keyed card fee
3.5% + 15¢ 3.2%-3.5% + 25¢/30¢
Bank account deposits
Free (+1.5% fee for instant payouts) Free (+1% fee for instant payouts)
ACH bank reject charge
n/a $25
Chargebacks
Free $25

QuickBooks Payments arguably has the most complicated pricing. That’s because there are slightly different prices when using it as a standalone solution or together with a bookkeeping subscription. Generally, QuickBooks GoPayment can be used as a:

  • Pay-as-you-go option without a monthly fee
  • Monthly subscription with a monthly fee

The monthly fee basically lowers transaction rates, plus you do not need to pay for PCI security. With pay-as-you-go, you can voluntarily opt to pay $9.95 monthly for PCI security, which we strongly encourage to stay compliant with card industry standards.

The QuickBooks chip and magstripe reader costs $19, but new QuickBooks Payments users subscribed to QuickBooks (QB) Online or not subscribed to any QB software (i.e. as a standalone solution) can get the first one free.

QuickBooks Payments
Pay as you go Monthly plan
Monthly fee
$0/mo $20/mo
Swipe, dip, tap transaction fee
Standalone or w/QB Online: 2.4% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 2.4% + 30¢
Standalone or w/QB Online: 1.6% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 1.6% + 30¢
Invoiced transaction fee
Standalone or w/QB Online: 2.9% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.5% + 30¢
Standalone or w/QB Online: 2.8% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.3% + 30¢
Keyed transaction fee
Standalone or w/QB Online: 3.4% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.5% + 30¢
Standalone or w/QB Online: 3.2% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.3% + 30¢
ACH bank transfer fee
Alone or w/QB Online: 1% (max $10)
With QB Desktop: $3
Alone or w/QB Online: 1% (max $10)
With QB Desktop: $3
PCI security fee
$9.95/mo if choosing this service No fee
QuickBooks Payments
Pay as you go Monthly plan
Monthly fee
$0/mo $20/mo
Swipe, dip, tap transaction fee
Standalone or w/QB Online: 2.4% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 2.4% + 30¢
Standalone or w/QB Online: 1.6% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 1.6% + 30¢
Invoiced transaction fee
Standalone or w/QB Online: 2.9% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.5% + 30¢
Standalone or w/QB Online: 2.8% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.3% + 30¢
Keyed transaction fee
Standalone or w/QB Online: 3.4% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.5% + 30¢
Standalone or w/QB Online: 3.2% + 25¢
With QB Desktop: 3.3% + 30¢
ACH bank transfer fee
Alone or w/QB Online: 1% (max $10)
With QB Desktop: $3
Alone or w/QB Online: 1% (max $10)
With QB Desktop: $3
PCI security fee
$9.95/mo if choosing this service No fee

If using GQ Desktop, you get other rates (see table above). There are also different rates for e.g. ecommerce transactions when integrated with BigCommerce or Shopify.

Overall, the card rates are considerably lower on the monthly plan – to the point where merchants making less than $3k monthly can still benefit from the monthly fee and lack of PCI compliance charge. If you make over $7,500 monthly, QuickBooks can offer lower rates saving you up to 40% in charges.

Square gives you the same rate for all swipe, dip and tap payments: 2.6% + 10¢. There is no monthly fee that can lower this, unless you subscribe to Square for Retail Plus (2.5% + 10¢ for in-person payments). You can also apply for lower rates if you make $20k+ monthly.

Square Reader for contactless and chip costs $49. The first Square magstripe reader is provided free, after which it costs $10 each.

Square best for the point of sale

If you were going to choose the platform with the best point of sale (POS) system, Square wins hands down.

The apps GoPayment (QuickBooks) and Point of Sale (Square) are the free checkout software you can use with the card readers on most iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Image: Square

Square POS system

You can build an affordable POS system with Square Point of Sale.

The GoPayment app has basic features like the ability to record cash payments, tipping, a basic product library, discounts, digital receipts and multi-user access. Square Point of Sale has these plus more features like offline mode, gift cards and a more detailed inventory library.

QuickBooks does have its own full-fledged POS software (QuickBooks Point of Sale), but this is painfully outdated, only works with Windows computers and costs a lot. That said, QuickBooks accounting software integrates with many external POS systems – but QuickBooks Payments is unlikely to work with those other systems.

Shops can upgrade to a paid POS system called Square for Retail, while food and drink businesses can use the paid Square for Restaurants software. All these systems work with Square Reader. You can even link Square’s card readers to external POS systems like Vend, Aireus and SuitePOS.

QuickBooks best for accounting

However, QuickBooks certainly has the most advanced bookkeeping software.

QuickBooks has many software packages for any size business, most of which are classed into ‘Online’ and ‘Desktop’ subscriptions. Apart from bookkeeping and payroll, the plans may include invoicing, recurring payments (ACH), inventory tracking and many more admin tools .

The amount of features in these areas exceed what Square has in its own platform, but Square’s invoicing and card-on-account option, for example, do not have monthly fees like QuickBooks has.

Image: Intuit QuickBooks

QuickBooks accounting software

QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting platforms available.

Square provides detailed sales analytics and reports for free, with options to add payroll and team management features at an extra cost. All sales made through Square – regardless of sales channel – are integrated in your account. Alternatively, the platform can integrate with Intuit QuickBooks Online (that’s right), Xero, Enterpryze and many other accounting platforms.

Our verdict

If you’re not using QuickBooks’ software already – or you don’t want to – there really aren’t many reasons to choose QuickBooks Payments. Sure, you generally lower transaction rates, but Square offers more payments tools and POS features at no monthly cost.

If you want a payment platform that has all the software features needed to run a business, Square caters to it all. If something is missing, you can probably connect to an external system that provides those tools.

If you do use QuickBooks for accounting, QuickBooks Payments would keep all transactions together in one account, but the GoPayment app is only for simple in-person transactions (not complicated retail inventory, for example). You get a full merchant account with a lower risk of account holds, and ACH payments, which Square doesn’t offer.

Retailers, restaurants or other face-to-face businesses will probably prefer Square for its user-friendly POS systems for any industry. The QuickBooks Point of Sale software isn’t great, but then again, you can integrate QuickBooks accounting with many point of sale systems.