This past weekend, while getting my monthly massage at John Davis Therapeutic Massage on Boylston Street, I was completely relaxed and definitely not thinking about work or technology in the slightest. That was, until it came time to pay…
As I pulled out my credit card, John simply pulled out his iPad. No credit card machine, no cash register, just an iPad. Attached to the top was a small, white cube that turned out to be a credit card reader.
John had recently signed up for Square, a service that enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere via remote device. The aptly named device is a free credit card reader that plugs into the headphone socket of any iPhone, Android or iPad. Without any other required equipment, contracts, monthly fees or merchant accounts, Square is extremely easy to use and too good for small business owners like John to pass up.
Co-founded just two years ago by Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey, Square charges a flat fee of 2.75% per swipe on all accepted cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, thereby eliminating all other typical credit card processing fees. However, if you enter a credit card number manually, Square charges 3.5% and an additional 15 cents per transaction (note: according to Twitter, this 15¢ fee was removed in late February, although this is not reflected on Square’s website). While some may be wary of security issues, Square maintains that it meets all industry-standard security practices to ensure safety for its customers and their transactions.
The advantages and rate change seem to be growing in popularity despite any security concerns, especially since, according to Jack, as of last week, Square was processing more than $1,000,000 a day. GigaOm notes that many are extremely optimistic about Square. This is especially true for the approximately 26 million people who are not classified as typical “merchants,” 60% of whom wouldn’t qualify for the more traditional merchant payment solutions like those from Square’s competitors, VeriFone and Intuit.
So, after John swiped my card through the device, I simply signed my name on his iPad using my finger, entered my email (though there was an option to have my receipt texted to my cell phone as well), and was instantly emailed a receipt for my visit, complete with “Receipt from John Davis Therapeutic Massage for $XX” in the subject line and a map in the body of the email as a reminder of where I was. Very cool!
Square is sure to revolutionize payments with its sleek design, ease of use, and team of experts, and it will be interesting to see it implemented more and more in our every-day lives. Have you seen Square in use yet? What are your first impressions?