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Thoughts: Square

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There are many payment processing options to consider – but the one that has always won out during my considerations, especially when just getting started is Square. Square has been the payment method of choice for Ifs, Ands, or Buttons for the last two years for the following reasons:

  • There are no monthly fees;
  • It can be free to start (magstripe reader only);
  • They have competitive transaction rates; and
  • They automatically deposit the money into my account the next business day.

Square has a relatively easy set up, and by using this link, you will have access to a deal for your first $1,000 (or six months) processing free. This link will also credit me with my next $1,000 of processing free. It’s mututally beneficial.

One caveat we do have to mention is that the free hardware option, the magstripe reader, is rather limited. It is functional for credit cards but requires all users to sign their name on your phone screen. This increases transaction times and can be a little awkward. Furthermore, the stripe reader does not allow for the use of debit cards, which does serve as a barrier to some customers.

Due to the limitations of the magstripe reader, we recommend the upgrade to the contactless reader. This reader can be purchased from Square itself or Amazon and ranges from $50-60. (Amazon is generally $10 cheaper.) This reader has credit and debit tap (including phone tap!) and both credit and debit chip functionalities.

Debit transactions have the added bonus of a flat rate fee of only 10 cents per transaction! Credit transactions have a 2.65% fee. It pairs to your phone via Bluetooth meaning that you keep your phone in hand for almost all transactions. It’s sleek, quick, and impressive. We highly recommend it as a tool for your arsenal.

Update: The Amazon listing does not currently seem to have the price difference it used to. However, it will ship quicker – which is helpful if you need it for an upcoming show!

Square has additional features that we love: easy invoices to send for orders not online, and a online storefront option if you’re looking for an alternative. I’ve used the invoice option regularly over the last two years and it has been a huge asset when handling wholesale orders. The invoices look professional and allow for the customer to pay with their credit card directly online. The fees for this versus in person processing are slightly different, however, so make sure that you read into their pricing beforehand.

While my experience with Square has been immensely positive, there are accounts of people experience problems such as having their accounts frozen or banned. There are articles about reducing that risk, more nuanced reviews, and other glowing recommendations. All things considered, Square has worked exceptionally well for me, and I do recommend it. Doing your own research and considering the specific needs of your business is always encouraged.

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