How To Use a Square Credit Card Reader With Your Small Business
Square plastic card reader in action

How To Use a Square Credit Card Reader With Your Small Business

Square is a pretty cool device that allows you to accept credit card purchases by using your phone. It’s a very simple way to get a small business started that allows your customers to pay with their credit cards and doesn’t require you to buy a bulky card reader. You just order the free device and when you get it in the mail you can start accepting credit card payments.
One of the best features for many small businesses is Square’s fee. Depending on the industry you’re in and the type of card you swipe, you may or may not save money with the fee, but you will get one thing: simplicity. Simplicity is good when you’re running your own business, or even just want a way to pay your kids their allowance without running to the ATM. No monthly fees, no different charges depending on whether your customer is using Visa or American Express, just a flat 2.75% fee for each transaction.

How To Get The Device

Getting the device is pretty simple. Go to, enter your email, choose a password, and select “Sign Up.” It will then ask you for some personal information such as your name, address, and the last four digits of your social security number, plus what you plan to use Square for. The social security number is required so that Square can verify your identity as required by law. If they can’t verify it using the last four digits, you will have to provide your entire SSN.
After you fill out your personal information, you will have to answers a series of questions, such as “Which street is closest to X?” with X being the street you live off of. If you don’t get these right, Square won’t let you use their payment system to accept credit cards (but you can still use it for cash payments), so choose your answers carefully. You will need to register a bank account as well so Square has somewhere to send the payments.
Once you finish setting up your online account and you receive the device in the mail, you will have to install the Square app on your phone. Right now it’s only available on Apple (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad) and Android devices, so go to iTunes or the Android Market on your phone, or send the app to your Android phone or tablet.

How To Use Your Square

Follow these steps to get your Square up and running:
  1. Plug in the device to your headphone jack. Square plugs into any 3.5mm headphone jack, which is the standard size for iPhones and most Android devices.
  2. Open up the app.
  3. Type in the product price.
  4. Add a picture. On the iPhone, hit the button that looks like a picture of a camera, then choose a picture from your photo album or take a new one. You can also choose a description if you prefer.
  5. Swipe the card. Make sure the black strip is facing the larger part of the device.
  6. Get a signature. Have the customer sign the screen with a finger or a capacitive stylus.
  7. Send a receipt. If your customer wants a receipt, you can send one directly to his or her email.

From Square’s website, you can access information about your sales. You can view the sales you made or see what a particular customer bought from you. The website can also show you the location where the sale was made. If necessary, you have the option to issue your customer a refund.
If you’re a small business owner with an iPhone or Android device that’s looking for an easy way to make credit card sales, you might want to try Square out. It’s simple and intuitive, and the fees are reasonable and easy to understand. Plus it’s really cool.

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