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Is Square worth the transaction fees?

Business Technology | February 15, 2013

As a small business owner, you need to ensure it is as easy as possible for your customers to pay for your offerings. Square, a credit-card processing service created for iPhones, iPads and Android-powered devices can help you fulfill this goal. But Square, created by Square, Inc., isn’t free. It will cost you when you swipe a customer’s credit card through the tiny card reader that attaches to your smart phone or tablet. The question, then, is a large one: Will the benefits of Square really worth the extra price you’ll pay on transactions fueled by it?

How it works

Reviewers, such as one writing recently for USA Today, praise Square because of its ease of use. Small business owners simply insert the square-shaped Square Reader — which is amazingly small — into the audio jack on their iPhone, iPad or Android device. They can now swipe their customers’ credit cards through the reader, starting the transaction. If a swipe does not work properly, Square users can manually enter their customers’ credit-card numbers to close the transaction. Best of all? You can receive your Square Reader device for free. You can also download the app — Square Register — that powers the system for free. It’s available in the App Store and Google Play store.

The Biggest Positive of Square

Square has earned praise for its ease of use. Entrepreneur Magazine in a recent review declared that using the Square system is intuitive for even the least tech-savvy business owners. The system is a positive for consumers. No consumer wants to walk into a store only to find out that the merchant behind the counter can’t accept credit cards. Now, instead of being forced to run to the ATM in the bank three doors down, these consumers can simply swipe their cards through the Square Reader to close a sale.

The Downside to Square

There is one major drawback with Square: the cost that business owners must pay to use the service. Every time business owners swipe a credit card through the Square Reader, they’ve got to pay 2.75 percent of the transaction to Square, Inc. Every time owners must manually type in credit-card numbers, they’ll pay 3.5 percent to Square, Inc. Another potential drawback? In its review of the service, Entrepreneur Magazine said that the company should boost its customer service. Human-provided technical support was lacking, according to the magazine’s review.


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