Square: Business can take credit card payments with no merchant account
The rules of business are changing. This new service can add to your success. With Square, anyone can accept credit or debit card payments by downloading the app and plugging a little plastic cube into the headphone jack of an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android phone. After a quick swipe of the card through the reader, the merchant turns the device over to the customer to sign his or her name on the touchscreen using a finger instead of a pen. The customer can add a tip, either by percentage or a particular amount, and then enters their phone number or email address. In the best case, the receipt message will buzz in the customer's pocket as an email or SMS text message while walking away with their purchase.
Enter Square with a more transparent alternative. The fee charged for each transaction is 2.75% plus 15 cents. Not the lowest available, but it's a reliable fee regardless of the type of card used. And Dorsey says that Square accepts most every variety of U.S. plastic, and can even be used with cash. The card reader device is an inexpensive piece of electronics--it's not industrial strength, but it does the job and there are alternatives for businesses that need it; Square has already partnered with the makers of the card reader used in Apple stores, which is both sturdier and powered by its own battery.
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