As the card payments market begins to open up to smartphone users who sell things, and who want to accept cards from their customers, Square has asserted itself as the disruptive player among a slew of entrenched providers who find themselves trying to keep pace in what many see as an extremely hot market opportunity. Recent press demonstrates Square’s latest round of PR as they exit their 50,000 merchant pilot phase. The app and card reader will still be free, and pricing has been set at 2.75% plus $0.15 per swiped transaction. TechCrunch has more details about the wider launch and some interesting case studies:
Nicole Westmoreland, the co-president of the Crocker Highlands Elementary PTA in Oakland, started using Square on an iPhone in mid-September to raise money through sales of swag and tickets for the organization. In a little over a month, the PTA had taken in $4500, and Westmoreland maintains that she would have only been able to raise $1000 without Square. “It was an easy way to force people to pay on the spot,” says Westmoreland.
Another interesting use case involves Dr. John Horning
, a practitioner who makes house calls in the Bay Area. Because his work is completely mobile, an easy to use payments system was a must. Because of the nature of his business, payments tend to be large so credit cards are often the go to way for patients to pay. He previously used a wired credit card scanner but found it cumbersome and difficult to use. Square, on the other hand, fits into his medical bag (he uses it with his Android phone), and is an easy system for his staff to learn as well.
And for some entrepreneurs, Square is a way to both bring in revenue and save money. For San Francisco cupcake store Mission Minis,
Square was a way of avoiding a costly cash register. Brandon Arnovik said that a point of sale system was the last thing on his mind when launching his bakery; and when he looked at the prices of systems he was overwhelmed. He heard of Square, and actually bought an iPad just so he could use the card scanning system on the device. One advantage he says of using the system, is that it can be used to provide detailed metrics on sales. For example, Arnovik can know how many red velvet cupcakes were sold in a given day.
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