Square App: Is It Right for Your Small Business?

What is it? Square is a smart phone application and card reader combination. The free account allows you to key in credit card numbers on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Square also mails you a free card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of your device. It allows anyone – seriously, anyone – to accept credit cards from anywhere.

How do you get started? You simply sign up for an account online or by downloading the application to your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. Once you make an account, you’ll be required to enter your social security number, U.S. based bank account, date of birth, and mailing address. You can immediately begin accepting credit cards by keying in the card number. The company will ship you a card reader in 2 to 5 days.

How does it work? The Square app is very easy to use; it’s the same process as any other card reader, but slightly easier and faster. Open the application on your mobile device and enter the item description and amount due. A bonus of having the iPad is the option to keep an “Item Library,” so you can simply select what your customer is purchasing.  Then, you simply swipe the customer’s card. Rather than a paper receipt, the purchaser will sign on the screen. If the customer wants a receipt, they can then enter their email address for a digital copy.

What are the fees? Square charges a 2.75% fee for all swiped transactions, and 3.50% plus $0.15 for all keyed in transactions. The fees are taken out as each payment occurs. The Square accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover, and each of the cards has the same flat rate.

How do you receive money? The Square deposits money into your account the day after the transaction is made. This simplifies the process of taking checks or cash to the bank to deposit.

Why is it good for small businesses? Unlike other credit card processing systems, no credit check or contract is required to start using the Square. For small businesses, this means it’s incredibly easy to start accepting credit cards. Statistics show that a business’s sales can increase by 15-50% by accepting credit cards. This gives small businesses a competitive edge against larger corporations. The Square is also good if your company spends time selling goods or making transactions outside of the main office. 

Why might the Square be bad? If your company makes a large amount of daily transactions, the Square may not be for you. Many other credit card processing systems lower their fees when there are more transactions. So, if your company makes a large amount of daily transactions, you may be able to get a lower transaction fee with a regular point-of-sale credit card processing system. There has also been some complaint over the customer service. The Square relies heavily on a FAQ part of their site and an email communication. While there have not been too many complaints to begin with, if you should have problems, the difficulty of finding an answer for your specific problem could be hard.

Terry Carter writes about a variety of topics, including incense