Is Square worth the transaction fees?

As a small business owner, you would like to ensure it is as easy as possible for your customers to pay for your offerings. Square, a credit-card processing service designed for iPhones, iPads and Android-powered devices will help you fulfill this goal. But Square, created by Square, Inc., isn’t free. It will cost you when you swipe a customer’s credit card through the tiny card reader that attaches to your smart phone or tablet. The question, then, is a large one: Are the benefits of Square worth the extra price you’ll pay on transactions fueled by it?

How it works

Working with Square is a simple process. First, plug the small, square, Square Reader device into the audio jack on your tablet or smartphone. Then, simply swipe your customers’ credit cards through the reader. The reader will scan the credit card and process the sale. If, for whatever reason, you can’t swipe a customer’s credit card, you can also manually close the transaction by entering the card number using Square. The Square Reader is free. The app that makes the reader work, Square Register, is free, too. You can download the app from the Google Play store or the App Store.

The Biggest Positive of Square

Square has to be doing something right. A recent story by USA Today reported that Square now boasts over 800,000 customers, an impressive total for a business that’s still quite young. The reason behind this growth? Entrepreneur Magazine, in a recent story, pointed to the simplicity of the system. There’s little learning curve for small business owners. Even the least tech-savvy users will have the Square system up and running in no time. Square also gives entrepreneurs the power to make life easier for their customers, a definite benefit. Owners won’t have to tell plastic-wielding consumers that they don’t accept credit cards.

The Downside to Square

Nothing is perfect, though, and Square isn’t an exception. Even though the Square Reader and Square Register are free, using the service is not. Business owners will pay 2.75 of a transaction to Square, Inc. each time they swipe a customer’s credit card. If business owners instead punch in the credit-card manually, they’ll pay 3.5 percent of each transaction. Those costs will add up. A second weakness? In a review of Square, Entrepreneur Magazine said that the human-provided customer service is less than stellar. Still, Square may be a net positive to your business. And in today’s economy, any advantage is vital.