It’s Cool to be Square

Q.  I  have a small business and would like to take credit cards.  Is there an easy way to do that without all the equipment and confusing charges?

A. If you have an Android or iOS device, the answer is Square!

There’s a saying that goes, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Square is a perfect example…

Square is a free Android and iOS application that lets anyone take credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) for a straight fee of 2.75%.  That’s it!  There are no activation, gateway, monthly, early termination, hidden fees or any additional costs to use Square. Every credit or debit card has the same flat rate. These fees are static and do not change regardless of how small or how large the transaction was for.

I learned about Square almost a year ago and started thinking of the relevance.  We had just finished our yearly garage sale and had missed getting rid of some junk parting with a couple of larger items because there was no way for us to take credit cards.  How nice it would have been!  But there was no way I was going to “rent” a credit card machine, set up a merchant account and run a telephone cable out to the garage.  All told it would have set me back $150-$300.

We also have a very good friend who is an amateur photographer who has so far has been paid via cash or check.  Some of her orders have been over $400.  This requires a trip to the bank and the minor annoyance of waiting for the check to clear before funds are available.

An acquaintance of mine is an owner/operator of a coffee shop.  He let me in on a dirty little secret: he had just spent over $1000 dollars setting up a Point of Sale (POS) system that didn’t include any of the transaction costs.

Another acquaintance is an author and does speaking engagements from time to time.  How nice would it be if she had a fully mobile POS that didn’t require anything more than the free card reader and the phone she already has with her?

All of these are concrete examples of the utility Square provides.  The possibilities, however, are endless:  expos, home and craft shows, a fair way to split the dinner bill (finally!), landscaping, home improvement contractors, bake sales and fund raisers… these are only the beginning.

Here’s the description from the App Store [and Android Market]:

Accept credit cards on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch [or Android device] with no contract, monthly fees or merchant account required. Every user receives a free Square credit card reader in the mail. Within minutes of downloading the app, you’re ready to take payments.

– For everyone. Now individuals and businesses can accept credit card payments anywhere, from garage sales to coat checks to coffee shops.
– Easy to use. Plug in your free card reader and start swiping. Track sales, tips, tax and send electronic receipts.
– Safe and secure. Square meets all industry-standard security practices to ensure safety for you and your customers.

Square is an innovative point of sale solution that replaces your cash register and credit card terminal. Square accepts all major debit and credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Getting Started:
1. Download the App
2. Activate your account
3. Accept credit cards

Accept payments. Everywhere.

Squareup.com is just as handsomely designed and easy to use.  Check it out to learn more including downloading transaction data (on a secure server) to discover trends like best sellers and repeat customers.

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Posted in Business, iPad, iPhone, touch

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