Monday, April 23, 2012

Credit Card Processing on the Go

If you've experienced selling your merchandise in person, you've probably noticed that people seem to be willing to buy more when using a credit card. At a previous job, we joked about how the payroll deduction forms were the company "gold card" since it didn't feel like you were really spending money.

For about a year now I have been using Square so I could process credit card payments when selling in person. The account and the credit card reader were free and the credit card fees were similar to what I was already paying on PayPal.  Since it was connected to my iPhone, I could use it anywhere I had cell phone service.

Some of the things I really like about Square:
  • Sales tax - You get to decide when to charge sales tax and how much to charge. If you are selling in different locations with different sales tax charges, this is very helpful. Some sellers like to include sales tax in their purchase prices and would want to turn off the sales tax charges.
  • Entering cash transactions - My friend Brittany at Trinkets and Butterflies told me about this one. You can enter all your cash payments in the Square app and keep a nice record of all your sales.
  • Photos of items sold - Square likes to market this as a way for customers to remember what they purchased from you. I like it because a lot of the items I sell are unique and the photo helps me remember which item I sold and a photo so I can try to make another item like it.
  • Easy to use records - Not only can I look on my phone to see how our sales went for the day, but the Square website lets me download records as a spreadsheet.
  • More personal than a credit card machine - The customer can watch the entire process and receive receipts by email or text message. They walk away with their purchase without having to leave their credit card number with a stranger. I never liked knowing that a merchant wrote my credit card number down to process it or had the imprint on a carbon somewhere.
  • I get paid! - I don't have to worry about whether the credit card number is any good or whether a check will clear. Square lets me know instantly that the transaction went through. I can't afford to gamble when it comes to having people pay for their purchases.
My friends who own Black Sheep Cafe were recently featured in a news article about Square replacing the cash register for some small businesses.  They use an iPad and Square's register app that allows them to enter their menu items (with photos). It turns the iPad into a touchscreen cash register that the server uses to assemble an electronic ticket for the meal and process the payment. The customer can even add a gratuity/tip. As a small, eclectic new business, using Square has kept more profits in their pockets instead of paying for financial services meant for large-scale businesses.

No, I'm not getting anything in return for praising Square. These are my opinions and experiences, free of charge. In my next post, I'll tell you about some other companies who are providing credit card processing via smartphone.

1 mad comments:

Prairie Primitives said...

I signed up for Square when I first heard about it ... just about a year ago now. Then I had to go buy a smartphone (which I'm using now to post this comment)! Square has been responsible for at least 30 to 50 percent of my sales at every event where I've used it ... YAY!

I had always heard that being able to accept credit cards would dramatically increase my sales, but I never liked the idea of all the fees associated with traditional merchant accounts, so I never went down that road until Square came along. The BEST example I have of Square helping me was last October; a $45 sale turned into a $205 sale when the customer learned I could accept credit cards!

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