What is Square?
Square allows merchants to accept debit and credit cards on their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet computer from individuals. You will need to download both an app and order a Square Reader to accept payments using Square. The Square Reader is a small plastic device which plugs into the audio jack of a supported smartphone or tablet and reads the magnetic stripe, to accept credit card payments. The iPad version of Square resembles a traditional cash register, and can be set up to include images of all items being sold.
How Does Square Work?
According to Square.com, you can begin using Square in just four simple steps:
- Order Free Secure Card Reader
- Download Free Square App
- Select Pricing Option
- Accept Payments and Get Paid
Order Free Secure Card Reader
You will need the Square Reader to accept credit and debit cards from your customers. Unlike traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems, where the card reader device can cost thousands, Square gives their device away for free. You will receive the card reader in the mail for free when you sign up for Square.
Download Free Square App
You will also need to download the Square Register app and link it to your business's bank account. Square also gives its app away for free and requires no long-term contract or other commitment at this time.
Select Pricing Option
You can choose from to payment plans: you can pay (1) 2.75% per swipe for all major credit cards or (2) a flat monthly fee of $275. Square advertises that there are no other fees—so you know exactly what you pay. Square’s pricing fits businesses of all sizes.
Accept Payments and Get Paid
Square also advertises that funds from swiped payments are deposited directly into your bank account within a few business days.
What Are the Catches With Square?
Yes, there are some catches that come with using Square.
Catch #1 -- Square can impose holds and reserves at any time for payments that you have processed according to Bed Dwyer of Cardfellow.com. The holds and reserves can occur at any time, without notice. Holds and reserves occur when Square, or any other credit card processor, holds back some of your payments to ensure for charge backs, refunds, and other reasons.
Catch #2 -- Some customer's have reported that Square has poor customer service and no option to speak with a live customer service representative. You can find a few of this complains about Square here and here.
For an excellent and more detailed review of Square's catches, you can read the Square Review on cardpaymentoptions.com.
Square: A Good Choice?
Square makes mobile credit card processing available to all businesses and individuals. The costs and fees are lower considering the typical fees for a more traditional point of sale device. Now, the relatively low fees means that you will not get the same customer service that you get with a traditional merchant provider who has an independent agent who sets higher fees and therefore has the time to spend providing you with better customer service. Overall, most merchants are satisfied with Square and continue using it in their small business.