Remember Square? Well, the innovative company launched last December by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has finally opened its doors to the public after a 10 month private pilot. Now anyone can request a free credit card reader for their iOS device from the Square website.
After setting up an account on its Web site, Square ships you a small credit card swiping dongle (pictured) that turns any iPhone (or iPod touch or iPad, for that matter) into a mobile credit card terminal. After installing the free iOS app you can begin accepting credit cards immediately by keying the card number directly into the app. After that the buyer signs on the touchscreen to confirm the purchase.
Receipts are sent electronically to the buyer and receipts, payments and deposits are managed completely from the Square Web dashboard. It has a slick interface that's drop-dead simple enough that anyone could use it.
This is a big deal and Square is really disruptive technology. Think about the implications about it for a second. Suddenly just about anyone can accept a credit card payment. This opens new doors for small businesses, entrepreneurs and eBay/Craigslist/classified/garage sale/flea market sellers, allowing them to accept credit cards without getting locked into a contract, having to buy a terminal and the monthly fees and hidden costs associated with a traditional merchant account.
Square handles the processing and payments and takes 2.75% (swiped) or 3.5% (keyed) plus a 15 cent fee per transaction. The service is really taking off and is now processing millions of dollars in mobile transactions every week.