SQUARE credit card reader

March 3, 2010

I recently received a device from Square, which allows the ability to accept credit card payments directly through the iPhone. For someone like me, who is a traveling musician, this is a game changer, in the way we sell our merchandise. To have the ability to accept credit cards at the mercy booth at club venues is huge. When performing live, most people enjoy consuming alcohol, and like to keep their cash on hand for drinks. This, gives them the ability to continue spending cash at the bar, but opens doors to purchase merchandise using their credit card.

The software is simple to use, and what impressed me the most, is this is very polished. It’s nothing like a 1.0 at all. This feels like Square has spent a very long time, working out all the details, so at public launch, this will be flawless.

Setting up an account with Square is easy. All you need is a checking account, and supply them with your account and routing number. Enter in some other basic information, and you’re up and running. It’s that simple. No set up fees, no credit card monthly service fees… It couldn’t get any easier then this.

How Square makes their money, is charging a small percentage of your charge. You have the ability to either swipe the card, using the provided device for a charge of 2.9% or you can key in the credit card number if you do not have the device handy, for a fee of 3.5%.

The swipe system currently only works with credit cards in the USA, as the reader converts the magnetic strip data into audio, where the software does the rest. In most other corners of the world, their credit cards are the pin and chip style, but Square has mentioned on Twitter, a Euro reader is in the possible future.

I was in Europe recently, and as a test, I used the key in feature on a european VISA card, and it worked, so keep in mind, even in Europe, if the card is VISA, or Mastercard, you should have no problem accepting it. Since this works, I would love to see a currency option on the software, to change from Dollars, to Euros or other forms of currency.

After you enter the amount you are charging, you can enter what the item is in the notes field, or click the camera icon and snap a picture of that item as well. Next, enter or swipe the credit card. Once approved, the customer signs their name on the screen. You can also email a receipt to the customer, which shows the amount spent, the item name entered in the note field, the image you took of their item, and a google map, with a pin to show the exact GPS location of where the transaction took place.

This device is a game changer. I believe in a short amount of time, this device will change the way small business handle money, much the same way PayPal handles money over the internet. I can’t wait to get on the road, and start using my Square, and I suggest, once this goes public, jump on it. Get the software, get the Square device, and enjoy the ability to take credit cards anywhere.