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The way credit and debit cards are processed is changing, there’s no doubt about that. Online services like Paypal are pushing banks and pricey merchant accounts out of the picture.

No more do you have to pay equipment fees, leases and crazy processing charges.

A new processor has popped up which combines inexpensive online processing service with completely mobile payments.

With what can only be described as a ‘dongle’ (card reader) which plugs into your device and your iPhone, iPad or Andriod device you can physically swipe or key major credit or debit cards and take payments right there, on the spot.

How do I accept card payments with Square?

  1. Install the Square app on a supported device.
  2. Create a Square account in the Square app.
  3. Apply to accept payment cards. Applying requires a U.S. bank account, Social Security number, and U.S. mailing address. We will send you a reader after you’ve been approved to accept payment cards.
  4. Your device must have an Internet connection to authorize each payment.

It’s free to sign up – there’s no monthly fee, no membership fee , even the dongle card reader is free!

What the nice people at Square do is they take a few cents and a percentage off your processed payment.
*Card Swiped cost   2.75% + 15 cents
*Card Keyed Cost    3.5% + 15 cents

The payment processing fees rally aren’t all that bad. PayPal charges between 1.9% and 2.9% + 30 cents.

I signed up and got a card reader through the mail for my iPhone/iPad. I downloaded the Square app and gave it a test.

I swiped my Mastercard card through the card swipe, and swiped it again, and again… I tried another card and gave it a couple of swipes – finally it took the swipe. I’m really not sure what the problem was.
Either way I managed to pay myself. A $5 transaction processed $4.71 through to my Square account.

There’s n limit to the amount of money you can accept.

You attach your bank account to Square and, they immediately deposit any money you process up to $1,001 per week. You get access to your money right next day (in theory). Square is willing to work with you should you need a higher deposit level – if you do then good for you Smile

imageA couple of nice features are when processing the payment are…
– There is a signature space on your device for the customer to sign with their finger.
– That you can email or SMS a receipt right to the customer complete with a map of where the transaction took place, date and time and a link to a more detailed receipt.
– You, the merchant receive an emailed receipt of every transaction placed. Of course this is broken down in your dashboard too.

Square gives you tracking tools too – track your payment locations, tips, taxes, and top customers.

imageThe iPad app really rocks the process. You can add frequently purchased items to quick addition to a bill (complete with photo and tax etc).

Imagine restaurant servers walking around with iPads or iPod touches and taking your payment right at the table and sending your receipt right to you!

Will this app change the way we make and take payment? I hope so. I can see outdoor markets, service providers, food service and more using Square and others like it in the very near future. Or at least I hope they will.

Maybe you’ll see your babysitter with a card processor!

For more information see

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

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