I wrote this article as I often hear people asking what options businesses have for processing credit card transactions. There is a category of devices known as Mobile Point Of Sale (POS) devices that competes with bank supplied EFTPOS machines. These devices require a mobile phone or tablet with internet connections in order to process transactions but effectively they are good for businesses on the go where there is mobile internet available. In areas where this is a problem then you are better to rely on the EFTPOS machines supplied by banks and credit unions. These devices require an application to be installed on your phone or tablet and the device you purchase which are readily available from places such as Officeworks, Harvey Norman, JB Hifi and the like. Currently the market leader is the Square Card Reader which competed with the Paypal version for some time but appears to be no longer sold by most retailers.
The square is available in either the "value pack" as I like to call it which has two devices, the contactless and insert style module and a swipe version that requires you to insert it into the headphone jack of your device. The other option is the swipe only version but I strongly urge you to buy the contactless version for the versatility. There are also a number of accessories such as a tablet stand if you are a business that doesn't require you to move around and a charger / stand to compliment the stationary POS. What is great about the square is that you can open an account before your purchase and play with their system to see what they have to offer. This includes creating your own product list, customers and other features which amazingly don't require a physical square such as invoicing and phoned through credit card transactions.
Cost is always a factor which I can't see being an issue with the physical unit going for around $60 and transactions costing 1.9% for in person transactions through to typically around 2.2% for invoicing and other methods. Notably lower transaction costs typically compared to other eCommerce solutions which hit your for mothly subscription costs and generally a flat transaction fee before they apply their surcharge. This is great for comparison but what is the point in comparing eCommerce to a physical device? Well glad you asked because recently Square made available an eCommerce API which allows you to perform eCommerce transactions for around 2.2% in Australia...I think I hear a cry of anguish from Paypal and major banks in realising that their normally higher transaction costs may now need to decrease if they want to remain competative. Sounds To good to be true right? Admittedly the Square API is a little inferior to it's mature competitors but I expect as they take more market share that this is likley to be less of an issue. While they do support a range of implementation methods finding examples is a little difficult but rest assured if you have worked in the eCommerce front for a while you will already used to this scenario. Does this mean you can dump other payment methods? I feel like this would be similar to the saying about putting ones eggs in one basket...it is a risk and one you should assess for yourself but saying that if you had both Paypal and Square as payment options then this would likely cover the spread and free you from your monthly payments if you were previously using a bank.
So is this where the good points end? Well there is one extra enticement to using Square if you know someone who is already using Square and that is their referral program (More Info Here) which provides both the referrer and the referree (that's you) with $1000 of free transactions or 180 days (which ever comes first). You are welcome to use our referral link to do this here: https://squareup.com/i/ACTSINTUIT
This is a great little extra gift for those who are starting out, small businesses or who are looking for cheaper POS alternatives to those offered by their Bank. What's more if you are looking to use it for eCommerce you don't need to have your website inspected before you choose to use this solution which is a great time saver and means you don't have a sales person telling you how your website doesn't meet their rather rigid checklist.
I know I have spoke alot about the Square and what it can do but I have done so as it has served us well. It should be easy to find out what something can do and who best to provide that information than people who use it. To provide a little more confidence in the information I have provided we have developed an online store with the eCommerce API as an available payment method. We will soon be updating our current store, launching a new store for selling physical items and launching a store for one of our clients Secretly Scrapbooking (Website: https://secretlyscrapbooking.com.au). I would also like to point out, as with any financial instrument, it is important that you make your own assessment of the security, risks and benefits associated with this product. While our business has chosen to use this product this doesn't imply that this product is suitable for you or that it comes without limitations or risks other than what we have covered so please take the time to look at the Square website for current information. I should also point out one significant precaution you should take should you choose to use Square and that is with regards to "free" public wifi connections...the message here is simple, you don't know how secure these are so it is recommended to avoid using these when logging into your Square account or for facilitating transactions. Thank you for reading our article about this POS / eCommerce solution, we hope it has been helpful and informative. If you are interested in finding out more about what we can do for you then please feel free to visit our main website or contact us. Thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.
Technical Services Manager
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