Monday, July 3, 2017

Taking Card as a Small Business: Square Reader Review

Being an active crafter, I'm always looking sell my designs in the easiest way possible. While cash is always better, majority of people these days tend to stick to hard plastic. This doesn't necessarily help me when they want to purchase something, yet I don't have the availability to accept their cards. That is until now.

Recently I decided to save up from selling my pieces and make an investment that [hopefully] would help increase my profits. This came after an abundance of research and testimonies from reputable sources, in search of the card reader for me.

It came down to two: PayPal and Square

Both have excellent qualifications and a good standing in the community of small business owners, but one stood out more to me. Square

Don't get me wrong, PayPal is awesome seeing as how I could have all the money directly deposited into my PayPal account AND receive a business debit card, but the fee's were slightly higher - not to mention a few "hidden-ish" fee's some may not be aware of - so the decision was practically made for me. 

The best part about Square is also the fact that while you could wait for your device to be delivered, you could also pick up a reader at one of the "in store" locations. (Target to name one). 

I went to Target and upon choosing between a simple "swiping card reader" and a "contactless, chip, and swiping card reader", I weighed reality into the equation. The swiping card reader was only $10, but seeing as how chip and contactless cards are in almost everyone's pockets, I sprung for the pack ($49). 


When you first open your box, you're greeted with a flap that states "Let's start selling" and your contactless + chip card reader. Open the flap and you'll find your swiping reader and the USB charging cable, to charge your square reader (the contactless + chip). 

Inside the flap, you're going to find instructions on how to operate your new devices. Everything is relatively simple:

- Charge your square reader
- Download the Square's "Point of Sales" app
- Pair your devices
- Get to swiping

Inside the app you have a multitude of options including creating a itemized list of your products. This can be an excellent addition to your business, because not only can you simply click the item your customer is purchasing, but you can add the option to automatically add a "fee" of your choosing - for example, a credit card fee. Also, you can create a discount code for any reason of your choosing. 

You can also create invoices for customers oversea's or for customized orders. This would send your customers an email with their payment's due. Essentially you would receive your money online through the Square app. 

There's another option to create a "customers" list, so perhaps if you have a reoccurring a customer, you can simply add in their information to make checking out that much easier. 

The last key feature in the app I'd like to point out is the "activity" tab, which shows you how much you've made in any given time frame. This helps to evaluate your best days, which in turn could help devise a stronger plan of attack for those particular events or venues, where you may not have done as well. 

It's a great device with only 2.75% per swipe going to Square. In retrospect, it's about $0.03 per $1, which isn't too shabby if you ask me. You can of course enter the card number manually (if for whatever reason your devices aren't working), but this will take 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction. So if you charged $20, you'd be charged roughly $0.95 for that transaction alone. Not too bad still - especially if you're charging a "credit card fee", but still not as great as the swiping rates.

When the day is done, you can choose the free option by having your money transferred to your bank account the next business day, but if you aren't that patient there are other options [that will cost you] as well. 

All in all everything fit perfectly with my side gig and I've noticed a great increase in sales since using the Square card reader. Now that I'm more "buyer friendly", buyer's are buying more. 

One additional tip I'd like to add, is that if you do purchase this [or any card reader], advertise it on your pages AND at your stands. You want people to know that you take card, which can be an instant attention grabber if done right. If you're interested in more tips about this, let me know and I would be happy to show my sign, along with how I planned it all out. Yes there's a trick to it all. 

Hopefully this has been informative to all of you looking to either start a business or further your advancements. I know for me, it's a game changer.

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