With the increase in mobile technology and everything always being on the go, the need to take credit card transactions from a mobile device has come up. Before it was a painful process to get everything setup with an banking instituion, get everything in order, but now you can use a service such as Square. There are a lot of other services out there that allow you to take credit card transactions on your mobile device, but I am going to focus solely on Square.
Lets start by taking a look at the setup and how the transactions work. First, you need to sign up for a Square account, which is free. You can then give them your routing numbers so it is connected to your checking account at your local banking institution. This way when you take credit card transactions from your mobile device it will go into your checking account. Square does this nightly, so if you do not see the money in your account immediately, that would probably be why. But the real question is, with all this being free how can Square afford to do this service and make money? The answer is they have a 2.75% fee on every transaction you charge with their service. So if you were to charge someone $30.00 on their credit card, your bank account would get $29.18 in the end. Compared to a lot of the other services out there, this is actually a pretty low cost of doing business, especially if you can use your iPhone or iPad. There is also no other bank fees associated with Square, so it really is just the 2.75% per transaction, unlike traditional credit card accounts. Another nice feature is there website is very intuitive, and shows you every transaction and allows you to export several reports into excel, making it a lot easier for your or your accountant to track everything.
Now that we know a little bit about how the back end of Square works lets look at using it on your mobile device. Once you sign up for a free Square account, they will send you a card reader that you can plug into your mobile device. Next you will need to download an app to work with Square. Square supports both Apple devices and Droid devices. Again in this scenario we are going to focus on the Apple devices, but the process will be pretty much the same for the Droid devices. In the Apple App Store there are two Square apps that you can download for free.
The first one is called Square Card Reader, and is a basic reader app that allows you to swipe the person’s credit card and charge an amount to it. This app does not tax calculation or even allow you to specify different items. All that would have to be done by hand or a calculator and put into the app as one amount. Once you charge the credit card you may want to get a stylus for your mobile device so the person can sign their name. Then you can send them an email receipt for their purchase.
The second app is called Square Register, and is also free in the Apple App Store. I should also note that this app is only available on the iPad, it is NOT available for the iPhone. This app is much more involved as it is more of a cash register than a basic card reader app. It allows you to put in pre-priced items, and even specifiy sales tax based on specific items. This way you can select the items without having to do any total calculations, and get tax figured in before you change the person’s credit card. This app also allows you to not only email the person a receipt, but supports to models of networked thermal printers to even print receipts too right from the app. In my opinion this app is a lot more useful as it can simplify a checkout process. Again you may still want a stylus so the person can sign their name on the iPhone or iPad when they check out. A list of supported network receipt printers can be found at, https://help.squareup.com/customer/portal/articles/142887.
So if you are looking for an easy way to take credit cards on your mobile device, I would highly recomend you check out Square. Especially if you own your own business, selling items at an event, or just want to offer credit cards at your garage sale, this service may be just what you’re looking for.