At Blab!, we love cool technology, especially if it makes a big difference in the lives of small business owners like ourselves. In the United States, a mobile application called Square has begun a payment revolution and small business owners across the nation are learning how to eliminate costly swiping equipment and take a new look at how their mobile device can help them do so.
Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, launched Square in December 2009 but received bad press for months as critics and news sources picked away at its unique foundation. As we fast forward through the majority of 2010, the application has begun to take flight, despite criticism that should the application take off, Visa and Mastercard would be likely to follow suit and if so, would most likely find a way to block Square from accepting their cards.
Square has eliminated the days of portable credit cards machines. The mobile application prompts users to register online and once they do so, they are given a small device that plugs directly into their mobile phone or computer and can read credit cards. The application works on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices as well as any computer. It allows small business owners to process payments while eliminating the need for expensive swiping machines. It keeps track of all the money you spend and receive and files electronic receipts. Square is programmed to deposit $1000 of your money into your personal bank account on a weekly basis so you don’t have to deal with transfers or banks in general.
In terms of security, Square meets and exceeds industry standards for privacy, meaning secure transactions and peace of mind. There are no monthly fees or contracts required and the hardware is free with registration. Compared to regular swiping machine costs, Square could save you a lot of money. Plus, who doesn’t want to be the small business that leads the way into the future of credit card payments?
When you register online, Square also sends a sticker along with your hardware so you can prominently display the new method of payment and undoubtedly spark some interest in your customers. As shallow as it sounds, being one of the first businesses to adapt this technology could have big benefits and definitely conveys a savvy image to consumers.
What we like best about this application is that it’s realistic and it can help all different businesses! Anyone from hot dog vendors who don’t have the money to purchase the equipment, to trendy coffee shops who are looking to save paper, to businesses who accept credit card payments on a regular basis and are tired of dealing with the hassle of transfers and the fees involved in processing transactions.
The only major downfall is that you must have a US bank account and US address to use this application to process payments. As a Canadian I am accustomed to being “shafted”, if you will, when it comes to new applications and a variety of other items not being available in our country. I am confident, however, that Square will come around to include Canada as they begin to expand and businesses realize the potential the mobile application offers.
In the end, there really is no way of knowing what the future holds for Square or its creator, Jack Dorsey. All we can do is sit back and watch. Plus, if it doesn’t work out for Jack, at least he has Twitter to fall back on!