A friend asked me if I had an advertising deal with Square. What? I had no clue what he was talking about. He said there was an ad on my Hooked On Droid web page and it looked like amazing technology for small businesses and individuals if it actually works as well as is claimed. I try to stay up on all the latest technologies and apps, but damn, there are so many.
Square up is a free app for Android and iPhones which allows the user/account holder to accept credit cards with no monthly fee or equipment to lease. Plus they'll send you a very small little magnetic reader that plugs into your earphone jack and allows you to scan Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover credit cards.
I've used PayPal for many years to great success, and after just a little research had no qualms about sharing my most intimate information with this innovative company.
After setting up my account and downloading the app onto my HTC Thunderbolt I was informed that my credit card reader will be shipped in two to five days and once received I'll be able to accept credit cards and will only pay the small fee of 2.75% when I use it. No cost for the account. No monthly fee. No equipment to buy or lease. Wow! This could be a major breakthrough for small business people (and probably scam artists) everywhere.
Of course there are a few unanswered questions: 1) How long will it REALLY take for them to ship my free credit card reader? and 2) Can this really work as well as their website attests?
So, the wait began. Then ended abrubtly. A mere four days after setting up my account, I received the card reader.
Okay, so I've got an account, I have the app loaded on my Droid and the little magnetic reader. Let's test it out (see video below for actual blow by blow of my first transaction).
In a nutshell: Square is AMAZING. What a major breakthrough Square is for small businesses, enabling them to accept credit cards without having to pay a monthly fee or lease or buy equipment for processing. All with no contracts or committments. Square just takes 2.75% of the transaction only when you use it.
For my test run, I thought I'd use my PayPal debit card (still amazed that PayPal didn't pioneer this technology first) and see if I could process it as a Visa and pay myself ten bucks.
So, I attached the reader to my Thunderbolt, opened the Square app, keyed in ten dollars and put TEST in under description. The screen then indicated that it was authorizing, then asked for a signature. I used my finger on the screen and signed. The next screen asked where the customer wanted the receipt sent (either SMS text or email), and that was it.
Square took 28 cents, and deposited the other $9.72 directly in my bank account.
Square doesn't save any of the credit card transaction info (including mobile and credit card numbers). When I logged into my Square account after executing the transaction, I was able to view my receipt (with only partial info on the card number and mobile number) and was able to view a map which showed exactly where the transaction occurred.
On a scale of one to ten, the Square credit card processing program is a 27. If you're looking for a way to more simply and cost effectively process funds and keep accurate records, Square is a great way for you to square up.
Note: you do need to set up an account on your desktop/laptop as well as download the Square app on your device.