Need to provide your company a boost? Why not try Square? You might not know what Square is, but know this: Square can help you attract new business to your business by making it easier for these customers to purchase your goods and services. Square is a small, rather stylish, credit-card processor — square-shaped, naturally — that allows merchants to close credit transactions using their own iPads, iPhones or Android devices. The unit gives you the opportunity to take on credit-card purchases without having to invest in a more complicated system. But Square does have a cost: You must pay a bit with every transaction you close with the service. Is the cost worth it? That’s something you need to decide.

How it works

Working with Square is a straightforward process. First, plug the small, square, Square Reader device into the audio jack on your tablet or smartphone. Then, simply swipe your customers’ credit cards through the reader. The reader will then scan the credit card and process the sale. If, for whatever reason, you can’t swipe a customer’s credit card, you can also manually close the transaction by entering the card number using Square. The Square Reader is free. The app that makes the reader work, Square Register, is free, too. You can download the app from the Google Play store or the App Store.

The Biggest Positive of Square

Square must be doing something right. A recent story by USA Today reported that Square now boasts over 800,000 customers, an impressive total for a business that’s still quite young. The reason behind this growth? Entrepreneur Magazine, in a recent story, pointed to the simplicity of the system. There’s little learning curve for business owners. The least tech-savvy users will have the Square system up and running in no time. Square also gives entrepreneurs the ability to make life easier for customers, a definite benefit. Owners will not have to tell plastic-wielding consumers they don’t accept credit cards.

The Downside to Square

There are fees, though. Each time customers swipe their credit cards through your Square Reader, you’ll have to pay 2.75 percent for the transaction cost. If you need to manually enter your customer’s credit-card number, you’ll have to pay Square, Inc. 3.5 percent of the transaction. Entrepreneur Magazine in a recent writeup on the product also stated that human customer support is shaky at best for the product. Still, despite these cons, it’s difficult to deny that Square can dramatically boost the efficiency of small businesses.

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