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Almost Anyone Can Accept Credit Cards

Square allows small business owners to accept credit cards.If you see someone taking credit card payments through a little white box attached to their smart phone, do not be alarmed.

That’s Square, a new credit card processing device that allows individuals and small business owners to accept credit cards at low low rates.

Here’s how Square (squareup.com) works: The person who is doing the selling downloads a free app onto their smart phone or tablet computer. Square then sends the seller a free card scanner — a little white box that is plugged into the headphone jack. (You can also buy the scanner at Apple stores.)

This little box turns the phone or tablet into a credit card processor. The seller swipes your card, and you sign with your finger on the touchpad screen. Then Square instantly texts or emails you a receipt.

The cost is nothing to the buyer, and 2.75% of the transaction for the seller.

That’s peanuts in the credit card game. Even Paypal charges 2.99% plus $.30 per transaction.

The fee jumps to 3.5% plus a $.15 transaction fee if you manually enter the credit card number rather than swiping the card.

There’s no limit on how much you can take in via Square, but new businesses can only have $1,000 a week transferred from Square into their bank accounts.

Anything above $1,000 gets credited within 30 days as a measure of protection against large, fraudulent charges.

It’s a boon to small businesses, or people like myself who have a product to sell.

My new book just came out, and since it’s a travel guide (“The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May”), I do a lot of book signings and talks at places that aren’t bookstores.

I buy my books in bulk from the publisher, and then re-sell them for a profit.

Up until this month, I could only take cash, checks (which carry their own risk if they bounce and I get nothing but a bounced check fee) or Paypal. And Paypal isn’t mobile for me.

Now I can plug the Square device into my iPhone and take a payment wherever I’m at. I’ll never lose a sale because someone just didn’t have $20 bill in their pocket. For a $.55 fee? It’s more than worth it.

Even better: there’s no contract with a credit card processing company, and no additional fees. Square takes Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover — yes, all for the same rate.

Would I prefer people pay in cash? Of course.

But for me — and a lot of entrepreneurs — Square is a boon to our small businesses.

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  1. mike said:
    on June 17th at 04:57 pm

    great article thanks for sharing it. I think this type of payment acceptance will grow rapidly in the coming years