Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moving in the Inner Square: Get your own Square!

As you may recall from about a month ago, I take credit cards via a little device called a Square that hooks into my Touch, transmitting via local wi-fi (courtesy of my lovely neighbors at 101 Things to Do.)  At the end of the post, I also disclosed that I'd be soon be distributing Squares to any interested parties.  Well, the time has come!
Ta daaaaaaaaa!
I got this box in the mail today, full of Square-y goodness and awesome.  All you need is an Apple or Android device with a touch screen and a wi-fi or 3G connection.  You just direct your device's browser to this page, download the app onto your device, and activate your account.  The Square plugs right into the audio jack, but you technically don't need it to run a transaction; you can run a card number without it.

Important stuff to know
Square is built primarily for individuals and small businesses.  There is no fee for the equipment (I'll give you one for free) nor is there a monthly rental fee.  All of that is taken care of in the 2.75%+15¢ fee per card-present/swiped transaction.  This is in the range for what I've seen from banks (on top of their equipment rental charges), so I think it's pretty reasonable.  The rate is 3.75%+15¢ if the card is not swiped.  Still pretty reasonable for taking transactions over the phone or if the reader's not working for whatever reason.  Also, because it works with all four major credit companies in America with the same flat rate, it's a great way to accept AmEx, Discover, business and rewards cards without the exorbitant fees they typically incur on a small operations.

There is a $1,000/week limit on transfers to your bank account, so if you do $2000/week, you'll get $1000 every week, and have to wait until the end of the month for the balance of your money.  This can be inconvenient for some, so just be aware of it if you'd fit that category.  For lower volume individuals or businesses, it shouldn't be a problem.

If you have a printer available, you should offer a printed receipt.  If you do not, you can offer customers an e-mail or SMS version of their receipt.  Very green chic, I think.  I've found that the swipe takes a little getting used to, a little bit of finesse to keep steady and go at the right speed, but I feel it's worth the practice to save the extra 1% charge.

I can't think of anything else pressing for you know right now.  The Terms of Service are worth reading/scanning well, as they would be with anything involving your money.

So, in conclusion...
If you would like to accept credit cards for your small business (or as a back up during a power outage or equipment breakdown; Just ask the ladies at Milk & Honey!), or for yourself, I'm your local source for a free Square.  It's great not only for shops but...
  • Massage therapists (of course)
  • Nail technicians
  • Hair stylists
  • Yoga and pilates instructors 
  • Doulas and midwives
  • Babysitters
  • Tutors
  • Movers
  • Food trucks
  • Artists and art galleries
  • Farmer's markets
  • Craft fairs
  • Garage/yard sales
  • Music teachers
  • Painters
  • Landscapers
  • Getting gas or food money from friends
  • Selling stuff on Craigslist
  • and many other things, I'm sure!
I hope this has gotten you interested in trying Square on your Apple or Android device, a credit card reader for the masses.  You'll receive a Square and a little vinyl decal that proclaims your customers' ability to "Pay with Square"!  If you'd like to request one or if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: jena (at) abundancemassage (dot) com.

(Also, if anyone is a size Medium and wants that shirt, please feel free to take it off my hands...)

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

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