© 2012 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The acceptance and use of credit cards has become a necessity for many merchants and consumers alike. Unfortunately, the small or home business is typically left out due to monthly fees, transaction fees, equipment rental charges, volume and high percentage-of-transaction costs. SQUARE may have developed just the solution that works with AMEX, MC, VISA and Discover.
(TIP: Smartphone compatibility: iPhone, iPad and Android.)
Jim McKelvey, a glass maker, and Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, have incorporated smartphone technology into a service that makes accepting credit cards available to the smallest business. The number of transactions and dollar amounts do not play a role. Here’s how it works. To open your merchant account you simply apply on line by supplying your business name, mailing address and banking information. Once this has been verified and you agree to the terms, two test deposits are made to your checking account. When received, you return these deposits via your smartphone. You have now verified that your account works, so SQUARE will mail you a FREE miniature card reader that plugs into your smartphone’s audio jack. At this point you are operational and can actually accept card transactions by *manually inputting the cardholder’s account number until your reader arrives.
(TIP: Presently, SQUARE’s services only work with U. S. issued cards. Plans call for accepting Canadian and European cards sometime in the future.)
There are two ways to complete a transaction. You can simply slide the card in the reader or you can *manually enter in the information. In either case, all details are sent to Square. You may also opt to have a receipt emailed or texted to the customer with a copy sent to you. Your funds, minus the percentage fee, will be in your account in less than 24 hours and you can check your account status on-line at any time. It’s as simple as that and my tests show it works!
(TIP: Card swipe fees are 2.75% while *manual entry fees are 3.5% + a 15¢ transaction fee and, naturally, are subject to change with market conditions. So, swipe when possible to avoid the higher cost. Either of these charges are very competitive)
Square has also introduced SQUARE CARD CASE, a service where customers can link their credit cards to their smartphones. Just turn on the CARD CASE app, select a merchant’s tab and enable automatic tabs. CARD CASE knows when you’re nearby and opens their tab automatically. Give the cashier your name at checkout and pay without touching your phone or wallet.
Card readers available FREE from SQUARE on-line, or at retail locations at a nominal charge. The SQUARE service opens the door to accepting credit cards to the small home business as well much larger merchants at affordable rates and its portability means you can complete transactions on the go.
Merchant information: squareup.com
Cardholder information: squareup.com/cardcase/tabs
GADGETEER’S RATING: • • • • •
Postscript: Two similar services have recently been announced; PayAnywhere, payanywhere.com and PayPal, paypal.com (> products > virtual)
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.