Accepting payments online is a great start, but for a mobile small business taking payments on the spot, no matter where you are is invaluable. Square, a new mobile payment start-up backed by PayPal founder Peter Thiel offers mobile payment solutions allowing businesses to swipe credit card payments on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Square offers free swipe scanners and competitive payment processing rates that have propelled this recent start-up company into the spotlight.

The Square payment system is very easy to use. Simply plug the card reader into the headphone jack, open up the Square app, put in the payment amount and swipe. Your money arrives in your account the next day minus the processing fee. Square offers faster cash delivery than most of the other mobile payment options available including Google Checkout that can take 14 days or PayPal taking 2 or 3 days. Square allows you to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Processing Rates

Square charges merchants 2.75% of the total transaction amount as a processing fee when you swipe a physical credit card through the reader. For transactions where the card numbers are entered and not swiped, a fee of $0.15 + 3.50% is charged to the merchant.

To put the Square fees in perspective it is important to compare Square’s fees to some of their top competitors:

  1. Google Checkout – $0.30 + 2.9%
  2. PayPal – $0.30 + 2.9%
For larger transactions where the card is not present it may be beneficial to have a Google Checkout or PayPal account available to you as a backup to help save on payment processing fees.

Getting Started with Square

Getting setup with Square only takes a few minutes. Go to the Square Website and fill out your email address and create a password for your account. Fill out their registration form and they will ship you a card reader within a couple of weeks. After you fill out the registration it is time to connect your Square account to your bank account and your done.

An Added Bonus – “Card Case”

Square offers another app that at first glance seems pretty neat. It’s an iPhone app called “Card Case” and it allows you to store different credit cards and incoming Square accounts in one place on your phone. We have not tested the app thoroughly yet, we will follow up on a later post. Maybe Google Wallet will have some competition.