How many times has it happened to you as a consumer? You are out walking and you see something awesome at the store or restaurant. You want to buy it and you pull out your credit card but the merchant says – `I am sorry, we only accept cash’. Bam – not only has the merchant missed out on the sale, you end up feeling cheated too.
A few years back when my partner and I were running an event management company and we were that `merchant’. We rented clubs, brought in the DJ and organized dance parties. While we encouraged people on the guest-list to buy tickets online before they came to the venue, most people preferred paying at the venue. And since we did not have a card reader we were forced to accept cash only. While most guests came to the party with a few bills, new guests had no idea how things worked. They were forced to withdraw money from the ATM in the lobby that charged exorbitant fees. It held up the line, slowed things down and made guests feel like we were not doing everything we could to make their party experience better. I wish Square was around then.
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Square as the name suggests is a small square that plugs right into the audio jack of an I-device or android phone. The merchant swipes card, enters the amount, the payment is authorized, the customer signs and the receipt can be emailed or smsed to the customer. Super simple. The merchant is charged 2.75% of the transaction (3.5% +15c if the card number is entered manually). The money is in your bank account the next day. Check out this video to see how a food cart in San Francisco accepts payments…
Square is perfect for merchants on the go like food-trucks, farmers at the Farmers market, Janitors/maids, DJs, Party performers (face painters, balloon sculptors) just about anybody who would not like to miss a sale because the customer doesn’t have enough cash on hand. Charities and Politicians also using it for raising funds – `I am sorry I am out of cash’ is no longer a valid excuse.
While square is not the first mobile credit card reader out there in the market it is by far the simplest and sleekest. There is PAYware Mobile, Marketplace by mophie, Macally Quickswipe, and many more.
So if you are a Small Business or a Freelancer and your customers would like to pay using a credit card then it your job to make it happen. If you are a merchant and you already use Square – tell us your experience in the comments.
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