Small businesses are constantly searching for ways to increase efficiency while reducing expenses, and a payment processing solution from Square, Inc. aims to further that endeavor. By utilizing modern mobile technology that include hardware and software, Square, Inc. facilitates the acceptance of credit card payments via a small card reader and software installed on capable devices.
What is Square?
Square, Inc. is a credit card processing company that uses advanced mobile technology to facilitate acceptance of credit and debit cards. Designed for small businesses engaging in outside sales, services or product delivery, Square allows mobile users to conduct credit card transactions via Smartphones or similar devices like iPads. The company's service is attractive to businesses with a relatively small number of such transactions because there are no upfront costs associated with establishing an account, and a predictable fee is charged on a per-transaction basis.
The Square credit card reader is a small digital device that connects to Smartphones and iPads through the audio jack and communicates with the Square software installed on the same device. Users simply swipe a customer's credit card through the reader and the associated software securely transmits the payment information.
Fees for using the Square mobile software and reader are noticeably higher than conventional methods of processing credit card transactions. Presently, the fee deducted by Square from each customer's payment is a flat 2.75 percent. Account holders can still process payments on registered devices without the actual hardware reader by simply typing a customer's credit card information into the software. However, fees for manually entered transactions are even higher at 3.15 percent, plus an additional $0.15.
The convenience of the Square reader and credit card software allows businesses to efficiently conduct business and process customer payments while in the field. Unfortunately, the extent of the company's capabilities is currently limited to the mobile software and hardware reader only. Account holders have no way of processing payments online without the registered device. The Square help guide clearly states, "We don't currently offer an API for using Square as an e-commerce solution, nor are you able to process payments through our website or by using your computer in lieu of a mobile device.”
Gregory Gambone is senior vice president of a small New Jersey insurance brokerage. His expertise is insurance and employee benefits. He has been writing since 1997. Gambone released his first book, "Financial Planning Basics," in 2007 and continues to work on his next industry publication. He earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.