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Time to Get Square

By Jason Cipriani
As a small business owner myself, I know what a pain it can be to decide which company should process your credit cards transactions. Which provider has the best transaction percentage? Do they require a contract? What about equipment to process the transaction? Is it mobile? Do I need a phone line? It can be a pretty big hassle, especially when first getting started. Yet, with the proportion of customers who carry cash dwindling – accepting credit cards has become a necessity.

A relatively new company, called Square, is aiming to change the way merchants and customers alike view the payment industry as a whole. You may have heard of Square, or perhaps even seen Square Readers for sale at Walmart or Target. 
Square enables merchants to accept credit card payments from anywhere by using a smartphone. That’s right, that iPhone, iPad or Android device sitting on your desk is capable of processing credit card payments.

The only thing you need from Square is an app and its proprietary card reader, which is free. Square doesn’t require a contract or have monthly fees, and the transaction percentages are competitive. You can expect to pay a 2.75% fee for swipe transactions, and 3.5% +15 cents for transactions with manually entered cards. Best of all, your money is deposited the very next business morning.

To sign for a transaction, the customer uses their finger to sign on your device’s screen. Receipts are either e-mailed or sent via text message to the customer. Through the Square Web site merchants are able to export transaction history or even view transaction analytics to help determine busy and slow days and times. All of this, plus some other really great features to help you increase business are included, free of charge. But there’s another part – a game-changing element – to Square that I really hope more local businesses take part in.

Imagine a customer walking into your business, ordering a drink or grabbing some merchandise, then giving you their name as a form of payment. The customer doesn’t even have to take out his or her wallet, let alone a credit card. With Square, this futuristic scenario is possible right now.

When you register your business with Square you can elect to have it listed in the Pay With Square directory. Customers who have the Pay With Square app installed on their smartphone are then able to have “tabs” automatically opened for them when they walk through the door of your business. In order to pay, they need only to give you their name. You, in turn, are able to look at who has an open tab in the Square Register app, select the customer and accept payment. The receipt is then automatically sent to the customer and the transaction is complete.

Square is constantly improving and changing, for the better, by keeping things as simple as possible. Yet, the features are far from simple and will truly change the way you view the payment process, both as a customer and as a business owner. Merchants are no longer restricted to being behind a counter. Instead, they can get out from behind it and interact with their customers while still being able to accept payment. Squaring up with your customer is more than just accepting a payment; it’s interacting with them and creating an emotional bond to your business. There are a few businesses in Pueblo using Square right now, but not near enough. Let’s change that, together. Download the app(s) and go to your favorite local business. Show them Square and what benefits they would receive if they were signed up as well.

I dream of the day I can go to Bingo Burger, check-in on Foursquare and get my free Mayor shake, and not even have to give them my name (they’ll know it because I’m the Mayor, of course) to pay for my Boilermaker. Square can help make that dream a reality.

To get more information regarding Square or to sign up and receive your free card reader, visit SquareUp.com.

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