Square: A Great Payment System for Churches

 

 
If you are not familiar with Square, you are probably looking at that picture above wondering how in the world can this little thing change the way I will pay. Well, let me tell you, it will! I have been SO excited for this product to come out and to get my hands on it. It has finally arrived and I am very excited to share with all of you how Square works and how I think it is going to change the way that payments can be taken both for small business and no- profits … like your local church!
 
Square was started by Jack Dorsey, who was one of the original founders of Twitter. Square is a payment system. That little dongle that you see in the pic above gets inserted into your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android phone headphone jack as shown below.
 
What you first do is you set up an account on Squareup.com. Then, Square will send you the dongle for FREE. Yes, you heard that right, no monthly fees, no contracts to worry about. Once you get the dongle you can download the free app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or the Android phone from their respective app stores. Once you are set up online and your bank account is verified and you have the app set up on your mobile device you are ready to start accepting payments. I am going to show you how it works on the iPhone and iPad. I don’t have an Android phone so sorry, no screenshots there.
 
When you first open Square on the iPhone you will notice the screen below. You can enter in the amount of that you want to charge the customer and then swipe their card through the Square dongle.
 
 
 
Now the one interesting thing to note here is that the interface on the iPhone is a little different than the interface on the iPad. On the iPhone you just enter in the amount you want to charge. On the iPad you can set up Square so that sales tax is figured into the payment. You can also create different items. So for example, for my wife's photography business, we can set up each different type of photo shoot we do as an item and instead of entering in the amount, we can just click on the item we are charging for. Take a look at the screen shots below to see the iPad version. This is a little interesting as this little difference makes the iPad more suited for businesses and the iPhone more suited for non-profits and other people or businesses that maybe don't need to calculate sales tax.
 
 
 
Once the card is authorized, a signature page appears and then you hand over your mobile device to the customer and they sign your mobile device with their finger. Then you hope and pray they don't run off with your mobile device 🙂 The one slight problem I noticed here is that it is pretty hard to sign an iPhone or iPod Touch with your finger. The iPad was okay. I did try to sign with a Pogo Stylus and that worked a little better.
 
 
 
Once your customer is done signing, you can then email them the receipt if they so choose. Then you are done. You can also log into Square and see your payments and your receipts if you have paid others with Square. Square is very secure and have taken a high standard in making sure they keep up with security of your information and card information. If you like you can read their Security Policy.
 
 
If you are still a little unsure on how Square works, go check out this promo video they made. But, to let you know, this video was made when they were testing out Square so the reader you see in the video is a prototype and the actual Square reader is white, not black like in the video. Ok, go check it out.
 

 
 
So why am I so excited about this product?
 
Well, first of all the cost gets me pretty excited. If you compare Square to other card readers or Point of Sale readers, there really is no comparison. With credit card readers through a bank, you pay a monthly rental fee for the reader, transaction fee, and sometimes a gateway fee as well. Also, some banks will charge another fee if someone uses a debit card. Square accepts debit or credit cards and the fees stay the same.  Banks try to lure you by using their services so that you can lower the price, but as I tried to look at a couple of different major banks, it looked so confusing to set up. With Square the guess work is taken out completely.
 
The only cost to you is $0.15 and 2.75% per transaction if the customer uses a card or $0.15 and 3.5% without the card reader. Most banks charge you this much or more per transaction. And that's it. No hassle of dealing with banks or having to hook up your terminal to a telephone line. All you need is an iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android phone. And when you think about it, you can get a decent iPod Touch for about $150. When you think about all the other fees you pay with a credit card terminal, the iPod Touch will pay for itself after a few months with all the money you will be saving from the fees you won't have to be paying!!
 
So that is Square. I personally believe that this product can revolutionize how we pay. My mind has been spinning with all kinds of ways that people can take advantage of Square. Here are a few.
 
This is a MUST if you are a small business. Especially if you are mobile, Square is perfect for you. For example, photographers, small coffee shops, freelancers, anyone who has a small business could take advantage of this.  Non-profit organizations can really take advantage of Square. I know more people would make donations if they could use their debit or credit card to donate. People don't always have cash on them.  If your church runs a bookstore, you can use Square to accept payments for items that need to be bought.  I truly believe that this product will help churches increase their tithes.  Schools could use Square to take class fees and to run student stores.
 
Farmer's Market Vendors NEED Square!! There are so many times when I walk by our Farmer's Market and I don't have cash and I want to get something. Just think how much profit would increase if you could take debit or credit cards!!  If you are running a garage sale, you can take debit or credit .  Ok, I am off my soap box now 🙂 I just love Square and how simple it is. It is a slam dunk in my opinion. My one slight problem is that Square starts you off with a maximum amount you can charge per day and per week. Right now it is a little low. But Square is doing this because they are just rolling out the service and they want to make sure it works properly, then after a few weeks they will start to increase limits. This makes sense and I commend them for wanting to make sure this works well.
 
So, what do you think? Have I sold you? Am I just overhyping this? If you plan to get Square or have Square, how are you going to use it? I would love to hear your feedback and your ideas to use Square.
 
Until then, be blessed and love like you never have!

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