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,

sage
the coffee hound
laurel fork, va.

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keith, for me its far from clumsy...very smooth, quick, efficient, and so far the customers really think its pretty progressive.  you can offer the customer a receipt via email or sms, so there is no waste of paper, and customer doesn't have to fiddle with stuffing a receipt in purse or wallet at that moment.  i don't know about about pos integration as i don't have that system installed.

thanks for the feedback!

sage

the coffee hound

Keith E said:

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.

nicholas...what?...i'm confused.  explain those last two sentences again.

thanks,

 

sage

the coffee hound

Nicholas Dakas said:

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.
smitten aeryn!, you must be in the s.f. area, no? tell us more about that square beta version. also, i'll have to check out that perks app...sounds intriguing as well!

sage
the coffee hound





Aeryn! E said:
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
keith, i've heard that same thing. watch your back!

sage
the coffee hound



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.
thanks for the heads-up, jeremy...i want to be sure i get regulated enough!, and as often as possible!

sage
the coffee hound




Jeremy Gray said:

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.

Whoops.  Good point everyone.  For clarity's sake (and for the Feds should they be checking), I just got my square and although it was my intention to charge a fee, I haven't actually done so yet.  

I've done the most basic of research on the matter and it looks like it's the merchants who set the rules governing "convenience fees", and they're all a little different.  I'm also curious about how much day Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Amex have in a situation like Square as I don't have an agreement with the credit card issuers...

 

Anyone wanna chime in, I'd be interested in knowing more on this.



Jeremy Gray said:

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.

With Square charging just the 2.75% I wouldn't charge any kind of "Convenience Fee" On a $3.50 drink the fee from the credit card is only 10 cents. For those who don't know, that's very cheap for card processing. In our business the place that we get killed on card processing is the "per swipe" fee. My current processor is 10 cents per swipe plus a percentage. So far I haven't seen any one that could beat this, but I'm open to hear what others are paying.(hint, hint) Square is perfect, like others have said, for very low volume use. I wish they would open up there processing to work through other systems.

 

If I were to go to a place that charged me a fee to use my debit card, I would probably choose a different place the next time I was in the area. And I think most people would feel the same, thus the reason I wouldn't charge an extra fee. I look at it like straws, cup sleeves, sugar, and all the other things that some people want, it's just a cost of doing business. Not everyone gets a sleeve and straws, just like not everyone uses a debit card, but I still have it built into the cost of a drink. It's not worth losing a customer over, that's for sure.

Nicholas Dakas said:

Whoops.  Good point everyone.  For clarity's sake (and for the Feds should they be checking), I just got my square and although it was my intention to charge a fee, I haven't actually done so yet.  

I've done the most basic of research on the matter and it looks like it's the merchants who set the rules governing "convenience fees", and they're all a little different.  I'm also curious about how much day Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Amex have in a situation like Square as I don't have an agreement with the credit card issuers...

 

Anyone wanna chime in, I'd be interested in knowing more on this.



Jeremy Gray said:

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.


sage said:

nicholas...what?...i'm confused.  explain those last two sentences again.

thanks,

 

sage

the coffee hound

Nicholas Dakas said:

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.

For Sage and Jeremy Gray,

To explain and clarify. 

As a service company, the average transaction runs between 150 and 300 dollars.  We never offered payment by credit card because it wasn't sensible or easy for technicians on the road to carry a device, or have someone call the office and initiate a credit card charge.  Established customers get net terms, new or "problem" customers paid in cash or check.

Square allows us to charge via credit card on the spot.  The idea behind charging 5 dollars, or any "convenience charge" is exactly that.  We're providing the customer with an option that makes in convenient for them to pay.  Nowadays, a lot of people want to use credit cards for point/miles, or just because they don't have the money in the bank.  Due to the limited number of high dollar amount charges we see, having a merchant account doesn't make sense... Square does, but I'm still too cheap to just pay the fee (it's not unrealistic to have an 800 dollar charge scattered in there occasionally too... that 2.75% gets up there quick)

Jeremy, I understand what you're saying about looking for another shop if they don't take credit or debit cards, thats why I always carry cash!  But it just doesn't apply to my situation.

Hope that clarified things.

 

Nicholas

Your situation is very different. We are pretty much expected to accept debit/credit cards. The average coffee shop gets killed because we'll do 100 credit/debit transactions a day, which will probably add up to $3-400 total for the whole day. So when there is a per transaction fee, which I have seen some that pay 25 cents, that is more concerning to high volume, low tickets. In your situation, you should be way more concerned with getting the lowest percentage possible, and not care as much about the per transaction fee. You charging a $5 convenience fee on a $300 bill is not that big of a deal. It's 1.5% of that sale. When I go to a quick serve place(coffee, fast food) and my bill is $2.50 and they charge me 50 cents to use my debit card. That's 20%, and their tip:) So your situation is very different.

To answer the original question. Yes, Square is awesome for the right situation. Easy, quick, mobile, and very affordable.

 


Nicholas Dakas said:

For Sage and Jeremy Gray,

To explain and clarify. 

As a service company, the average transaction runs between 150 and 300 dollars.  We never offered payment by credit card because it wasn't sensible or easy for technicians on the road to carry a device, or have someone call the office and initiate a credit card charge.  Established customers get net terms, new or "problem" customers paid in cash or check.

Square allows us to charge via credit card on the spot.  The idea behind charging 5 dollars, or any "convenience charge" is exactly that.  We're providing the customer with an option that makes in convenient for them to pay.  Nowadays, a lot of people want to use credit cards for point/miles, or just because they don't have the money in the bank.  Due to the limited number of high dollar amount charges we see, having a merchant account doesn't make sense... Square does, but I'm still too cheap to just pay the fee (it's not unrealistic to have an 800 dollar charge scattered in there occasionally too... that 2.75% gets up there quick)

Jeremy, I understand what you're saying about looking for another shop if they don't take credit or debit cards, thats why I always carry cash!  But it just doesn't apply to my situation.

Hope that clarified things.

 

Nicholas

been using ipad and square as pos since november.  when it works, it's great. when it doesn't, it's so useless.  we had log in troubles, we have had severe freezes as well.  we opted to not use the swype plug in and went with a chase payment tech because of usage charges.  touch flo menu is cool, but a sub menu page would be helpful, or dots on bottom of the screen could be larger.  found the help and tech support to be difficult to find and obtain.
how do you find the perks app? got links?  :)

Aeryn! E said:
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

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