Hip to be Square
The latest trend in mobile payment technology
Just because you’re selling a product from the local farmers’ market, a service on a door-to-door basis or merely don’t want to have to deal with the hassle – and cost – of having a physical storefront doesn’t mean you can’t offer your customers the convenience of using plastic. Meet the Square card reader, a tiny piece of technology from south of the border that plugs into the auxiliary jack on virtually every Android smartphone and iPhone out there and allows you to process payments using every major credit card. That means all you have to do to offer your customers the ability to pay with plastic anywhere in the world is download a free app, link it to your bank account and – cha-ching – you’re in business.
The Square may have debuted in the U.S., but it might be a bigger hit here. The adoption rate for the device in Canada is 25 per cent higher on a per capita basis, while the gross payment volume and average transaction size are 90 and 71 per cent higher, respectively.
The Square card reader accepts American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover (although, really, does anyone actually have a Discover card?). The cost to the merchant, 2.75 per cent of the value of the purchase, per swipe, or a flat monthly fee of $275. Even better, it also includes a searchable sales history and other useful analytics.
Anyone can use the Square Reader, but it’s been a particularly big hit among service providers– accountants, lawyers, consultants – as well as retailers.
More than $15 billion in transactions have been processed by the Square since its debut in North America in 2010.
Using a credit card may be convenient for shoppers, but the current system is a nightmare for merchants. In Canada alone they pay more than $5 billion a year just for the ability to accept them, with fees ranging from two to three per cent of the cost of every transaction.
Square readers retail for $9.99, and can be found at Apple, Best Buy, Future Shop, Staples and Target locations. But because they all come with a $10 redemption code–that is, the first $10 of fees effectively gets waived – the reader is essentially free to try. There is no contract and no monthly minimums.
Click here to read about how one local business is using this technology.