hey everybody!
square...(squareup.com), an interesting way to accept credit cards via your smartphone. they even provide a free card reader that plugs into your phone. any shopkeeps out there using this gizmo? curious how everybody loves/hates it.

be well,

the coffee hound
laurel fork, va.

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I use Square for credit/debit sales at farmers markets I do. It's been great—I have a very small number of transactions so it allows me to accept CC without a merchant account. The startup was a little rough—I was an early adopter and they had trouble managing growth and getting readers out to folks who had signed up. It took about 6-7 mos. to get the thing, but I think they've managed their backlog and things are running much more smoothly now.

It's been easy to use and haven't had any problems using my iPhone 3G with it.

xcellent, stefan!...thanks for your reply. i didn't know square had been around that long-- (i don' t get out much!). ok, good to know.


the coffee hound

like your logo!
If you run more than a few transactions a day, the swipe fee and % they charge can really add up.  It has advantages for the small guy, but if you run lots of small transactions a day like a normal coffee related business would run, stay away from square and similar products like costco offers.
I help run an espresso bike that hits events and moves around the city. Most folks nowadays are used to using the card...you'll lose more money by turning people away because you can only accept cash. It's easy and awesome. And paired with an Ipad it's the bomb.

thanks for the replies and insight, everyone!  am into my 2nd week of using square, and its working quite fantastically!  recently, they dropped the additional 15 cent fee for swiped cards...now its just 2.75% when swiped.  with my type of business with running tabs for customers for a few days while they're attending or competing at events, its really helpful.  received a reply from square the other day...i was asking if they have a means of "storing" a customers card on the reader so they can return after a few days and pay off their tab with the credit card "stored" in the reader.  not available yet, but said its a good idea and keep an eye out for it possibly in the future.  so, for now, i'm using one of the old-fashioned machines that imprints the card, get the customer's contact info, and then swipe the card at the end of the event.  its all good!



the coffee hound

just saw they dropped the 15 cent swipe fee today.  I need to crunch numbers, but this might place them as one of the most affordable options for a coffee shop that does lots of small sales each day.  It just seems clumsy and the lack of printed receipt and POS integration are huge negatives.
I signed up a couple weeks ago.  Extremely simple, got my reader in a week.  For a business that doesn't rely on CC sales, but needs the ability to offer the service, you really can't lose.  We just tell customers that there is a 5 dollar charge for using a credit card (typical charge is 150-300 bucks), I'm glad to pony up the additional fee if the five doesn't cover it.
Many states, as I am aware, make it illegal to have a minimum purchase requirement or "convenience" fee for credit card purchases.  Check you local laws Nicholas.

It's the credit card companies themselves that have rules against charging minimums, or adding like $.50 to any credit transaction. At least that was my understanding. It could be regulated by each state, but I know Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex have different rules about it. Here is a good link.

Now Keith may be right as well, and you should check with your state too.

Keith E said:

Many states, as I am aware, make it illegal to have a minimum purchase requirement or "convenience" fee for credit card purchases.  Check you local laws Nicholas.
I know many merchant accounts specify this, buy the CC providers also lobby state and national congress hard and have gotten laws passed which prohibit this practice.  I think it is a state-by-state thing now.
we just started using it back in December ( were a tiny operation) and it works out really well i like the beta version personally, we also are using an app called Perks- its a frequent buyer card with out a card- we just set up another ipad facing the customer and they can enter their emails and it doesnt spam.im in love with both except that the actual cash placement and security is left to you which i could see as an issue with a big operation with multiple cashier/assigned registers.. p.s i met teh creator of da square this morning and am  smitten :P
we use it and it works great.

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