As a business owner, I am constantly looking for smarter ways to conduct business for my company and for my clients. Enter Square.
Square is essentially a pocket-sized credit card reading device allowing easy acceptance of credit card payments virtually anywhere. Simply connect the cube-shaped card reader into the headphone port of your mobile phone or tablet and swipe the customer’s card. It works in conjunction with apps currently available for iPhone, iPad and Android to process the card, allow the customer to sign with their finger or stylus and instantly send them a purchase receipt via email or text message.
The four-year-old company, started by Jack Dorsey who also founded Twitter, recently inked a deal with Starbucks and will be popping up in more than 7,000 of its locations this fall. No doubt this partnership will promote greater awareness and use of the mobile credit card payment process.
Accepting all major credit cards, Square charges a flat 2.75 percent per transaction with no other fees, considerably less than other credit card processors. It also recently launched a flat-fee option for small businesses, in which merchants with $250,000 or less in annual sales can opt to pay $275 per month for any amount of transactions.
With no fee to set up a merchant account and receive the device, which is directly shipped to your home or business, Square could be the payment solution for a variety of businesses—from babysitters to artists, small shops to large retailers, charity events to political fundraisers. It’s already in use in many businesses throughout Gainesville. Visit www.squareup.com to learn more.
CASE STUDY: Fred Posner, Owner of Dream Day Cakes, Local Bakery, Gainesville, Fla.
What do you like most about using Square?
My favorite feature is that there are no surprise fees. There are no hidden fees for gateway connections, equipment or the type of card I process. If someone uses a corporate card with a rewards program, I still pay the same flat fee. With our previous provider, I would get charges months later, making accounting a nightmare. With Square, I have a very reliable expectation of fees, and I receive the payments in my bank account within 48 hours.
Do you feel that by incorporating Square, it increased opportunity for your business?
Here’s the best example: Last week during a heavy storm, a customer came in to pay and we lost power. If I were using a different processor, I wouldn’t have been able to get the charge. By having Square, I could use my smart phone, take the charge, account for the sale and give the customer a receipt. I can also take immediate payments on deliveries, which is especially useful at expos or events. In addition, we participate in the Square rewards program, which allows me to easily identify and reward my best customers.
How do customers respond to use of the device?
Most customers love it! When they sign the iPad or get an electronic receipt, they smile. It’s a great thing when customers enjoy the process of paying their bill.
Do you have any hesitations about the product?
At first I was very hesitant. Working with processors for so many years had me expecting hidden fees. Dream Day Cakes started using Square two years ago, slowly integrating the process to test for these fees, and there were none. They’ve demonstrated themselves as a great business partner. When our previous processing company started a new monthly “statement” fee, we moved 100 percent of our business to Square.