HolyCoast: The New Money - Square
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The New Money - Square

I've mentioned this product before - Square - the innovative system that allows anyone to accept credit card payments via their iPhone or Android device.  I started using the service in January and it's been a real boon to the quartet business.  There's a good article on how the service got started and how it works here.

When I first started taking credit cards back around 1999 I had to go through an expensive process to get set-up.  The equipment and software cost over $700 and the process wasn't very convenient.  I could only take Visa or Mastercard, and there was still a risk involved from bad cards.  I would get a card from a customer at the concert, swipe it through one of the old zip-zap machines, fill out a multi-part transaction slip, have the customer sign the slip and then have to wait until I got home to input all the information into a computer program at which point the card would be verified and the funds generated to my bank.  Several times I had cards rejected or had situations where one of my guys had put the card in the zip-zap machine wrong and the numbers didn't imprint and I wasn't always able to collect those funds.  It was very inefficient.

With Square I can take Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover, and either swipe the card through the reader attached to my phone, or in the case of phone orders, manually enter the numbers in the system (it costs a little more to do it that way).  You can also use Square to send a cash receipt for no charge.  I had a guy purchase a bicycle from me via cash and he wanted a receipt.  I used Square to generate an email receipt for him.

The same Square account can be used on more than one device at a time (up to 10), so at concerts I use mine and one of my guys also has the service and just signs into the quartet  account so both of us can process transactions at the record table.  It really worked great the first time we tried it at a concert in March.  There's no additional work necessary once the transaction has been completed and the funds are sent to my bank account the very next day.  It couldn't be much easier.

If you have any sort of small business, or just want the ability to be able to process credit card payments, check it out at Squareup.com.

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