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Discovering business opportunities in a new techie device: square.

AMY LEWIS | GWATA Program Manager

Increasingly, we are becoming a mobile society.

Everyday, we check our email, Facebook status, even our bank accounts, on the go with our cell phones. As such, we need smarter and better ways to conduct business.

We are also a society that doesn't carry cash! Many businesses can't be tied to a land line, whether its phone or internet, or expect their customers to always have cash on hand. Enter, a completely mobile method for accepting credit card payments.

I love the fact that part of my job as GWATA's Program Manager is simply (attempting) to keep up with the latest in technology. The fact that I love technology and all things gadgety helps a lot. I was cautiously optimistic last month when I received an email from Square about their new card reader that can be used to charge credit cards using a smartphone.

I was 'Cautiously optimistic' because I had previously received a similar product from Intuit that turned out to be NOT quite as easy as described.

I've now moved from cautiously optimistic to full blown FAN of Square! It was ridiculously easy to set up, and using it is a breeze.

Initially you sign up for an account with Square and they ship you a free card reader for your phone (it plugs into the earphone jack). Install the app on your phone (both lOS and Android are supported), input your bank account information and verify the account ... voila' you're ready to go.

There is ZERO monthly fee which was a big selling point for GWATA, as we have many months out of the year with no credit card payments at all. There is a flat fee of 2.75 percent of the transaction if you swipe a card, or 3.5 percent fee plus an additional 15 cents for manually entering a card number. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover are accepted.

A few other little extras, like being able to text or email the customer a receipt, and a location map of where the card was charged are nice as well.

If you're a small business, or doing business outside of a traditional setting where you may not have power or a phone line for a machine, you may want to look into it.

Oh, and I'm happy to show it to you at any GWATA event!
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Title Annotation:Community Voices
Author:Lewis, Amy
Publication:Wenatchee Business Journal
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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