Let me begin by saying that I have no professional affiliation with the company I am about to talk about. I am but a humble consumer of this product, and am pleased enough with it to share my experience with you.
My wife owns a home-based bakery and recently asked me how she could inexpensively accept credit cards. Just a few years ago, my reply to her would have involved renting a credit card machine, signing up for a processor and paying monthly statement and processing fees.
But not anymore.
I recently learned about a wonderful little device from a company called Square, Inc.
The Square: By the Numbers
This little device, which is free after a $10 sign-up credit, plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone, iPad or Android device. It’s possible to swipe credit cards through the device and, after you have signed up for the Square processing service, start accepting credit cards inexpensively and easily.
The cost is only 2.75 percent of the transaction amount, and there are no hidden statement fees or other charges to pay. If you enter the credit card number manually (without swiping), the cost goes up to 3.5 percent plus $.15. Most major credit cards are accepted, and the payment – less the processing – is deposited into your bank account the next day.
The Square: Easy to Use
I picked up my Square device at the nearby Target, opened the box and plugged the device into my wife’s iPhone. The box contained a simple card that told me how to register my account, which I did using the iPhone itself.
Within 20 minutes I was able to swipe a credit card and take payments. I could even perform an electronic signature capture using the iPhone screen.
Receipts from Square transactions can be emailed or texted to the recipient. If you choose to send a text, the recipient receives a link to a web site that displays the receipt. You can even customize the receipt that your customers will see.
The Square: How it Applies to HFTP Members
Impressed with the simplicity and flawless execution of this little device, I began thinking about its uses for HFTP members. Whether for your property or as an HFTP chapter leader, this device could help you in those moments when you occasionally need to accept credit cards.
Square’s solution might be your answer.
I could definitely see it used in various hospitality settings like:
- At an off-site event or off-site catering
- For a beverage cart at a golf course
- As an inexpensive credit card solution for the front desk
- Accepting credit card deposits over the telephone
- Allowing employees who work at home to accept payments
Every once in a while someone solves a problem in a simple and elegant way.
I believe that Square has done this by filling a gap in the credit card processing market. They offer an affordable solution that takes advantage of today’s mobile world.
So if you happen to need a creative, made-from-scratch cake in the Richmond, Va. area, I hope you will look up my wife at www.getsugarbuzzed.com.
Donald Moro is the vice president of Marketing at Northstar Club Management Software, a leading provider of on-premise Club Management Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for private clubs and resorts. He can be reached at (888) 240-3501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.