Accept credit cards already!

Too many small businesses do not pay attention to what’s going on in technology with the oft stated “It’s all too complicated..” etc. But it’s not any more in many cases, and can make life simpler for both you and your customers.

Here’s an announcement from the late to the party Intuit and AT&T. If you like those guys, maybe this is for you. But they’re about two years behind Square, who have added CardCase to their lineup to make things even easier for your customers.

I had a conversation with a small vendor who complained about the ever increasing charges for various cards (points, no points, debit, etc. and the fact that he had to lease the machine forever. All that goes away with Square.

Now I’m the first to admit that the slick scenarios painted by the marketing vids are just that, but even if all it does is allow you to take credit cards it’ll help. Recently the October Snow took out small businesses credit card machines near me. If you’re a pizza shop, and there’s thousands of locals who have had no power for days, shouldn’t you be able to take a credit card? Also, the snow meant roads got salted. I go to the car wash since I’m too lazy to turn on the spigots I shut off for the winter, and once again, no credit cards. Really? Seriously? C’mon people. There’s no excuse anymore. And I wouldn’t mind a “Hello Mr. Berlinger, thanks for returning. Same wash as last time?”

2 thoughts on “Accept credit cards already!

  1. Daniel, I was wondering if you could provide additional insight on your experience with Square and before Square. I have been working with a number of small business owners that have had some issues with Square, they were turned on to it after dealing with poor processors and were looking for something simple. Unfortunately that simplicity meant they were paying over 2.5% on average which is much higher than what they needed to me. Again just wondering if you had additional information on how things have been going and what made you turn to Square.

    • I quote from your site: “Unfortunately due to the complexity of the rates, fees, and assessments that accompany every transaction, businesses find themselves dealing with an industry where margins can be padded, fees hidden, and worst often lengthy contracts and cancellation costs that actually penalize the small business that tries not to be taken advantage of.”

      The folks I’ve been turning onto Square have either not been able to take credit cards or are negatively impacted by the leasing of equipment, and various rates they are charged for different cards and types of credits (credit vs debit vs points/rewards cards).

      The specific issues: In several cases it was too difficult to do credit card processing. One case was a baby sitter. She’s just a kid essentially, but it was a lot easier for folks to her pay her once she was able to accept credit cards. Another case was a small boutique type of business where each transaction could $1000 or more but there aren’t a high volume. Again the carrying cost for leasing the machine and the complexity is added to the business were not worth it to the owner. Sure, he tried it for a while, but was annoyed by it and so went all cash. The problem is that folks forget or don’t know that he’s a cash only business and then have to go running around to find an ATM machine, if they even have the necessary cash on hand (although his customers tend to…)

      Another complained of not knowing where he was at with all his transactions because the sliding scale of different rates charged for each card made it the equivalent of impossible to calculate what was actually going to clear.

      All these cases were solved by Square. And while I don’t disagree about the rates, Square has shown that they’re willing to reduce rates when they can. As there volume goes up they’re able to do better deals and pass some of that on at least so far.

      Additionally, they’re at least thinking about how a merchant can use smartphones and tablets to make for a better customer experience. Their newish card case software is an example. It doesn’t replace a genuine relationship with a customer, but it makes it easier to enable small transactions. It a good trend. Another example although a bit more “just for us” is Apple’s new experience where you can pick up an item in their store, scan it with Apple Store software and it will charge your iTunes/App store account so that for any shelved item in an Apple store you don’t even need to interact with an employee which for simple things in a busy store will also benefit both sides.

      Sure the right mix of size and type of transaction and you might be able to do better through another service, and lot of folks have mentioned fee fighters lately… but for a lot of folks, especially those folks who don’t ro can’t handle the complexity and cost associated with merchant accounts etc. etc. Square is perfect. Let’s hope for some serious competition.

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