Square credit card reader

Do you do a lot of in-person events? If you do any events where you sell your own books (not like a book signing where you sell on consignment or the bookstore actually does the selling of the books) and you aren't taking credit cards at said events, why not?

Did you know you could get a free device that reads credit cards and is connected to your checking account? It's called Square. You can sign up for a free account and receive a free card reader here. What does it cost to use? Just 2.75% of the charge when you swipe a card, which basically comes out to 3 cents on the dollar being taken out before you receive your money. You can also manually key in a credit card number but the percentage is higher - 3.75% plus 25 cents for each transaction. The pay out is the next day. The other device you will need to use the card reader is an iphone, ipod touch, ipad, smartphone or any android based type device that the Square app can be downloaded to and need to be in an wifi area.

This was a big issue for me when I was at the Savannah Children's Book Festival in November; a lot of people asked if I took credit cards or stated they didn't have any cash on them. I've had my Square since last summer but haven't had a device to use the card reader on until last month. My daughter got a new Pantech Crossover phone through AT&T and it has an Android 2.3 OS and she was able to load the Square app and we tested my Square out and I now have the capability of taking credit cards at my events. So now, until I can afford a device of my own, when I have an event, I will have to borrow her phone for the purpose of taking credit cards (not into using her phone for phone purposes). Each Square is programmed to your account only. Do I feel safe using it? Yes. Am I worried someone might keep swiping cards and trying to take my money? Not really. I get notices when the card reader has been used and if there is a dispute on a charge from a customer and I can refund the charges, I don't feel fraud or identity theft is a problem. I can't wait to put my sign up for display at my first event of 2012, Geofest, February 18.

For more information, check out the Square here. May you have lots of sales at your in-person events. - See you all in the postings - E :)

-------------------
Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
"The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
"Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
"Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
http://eeldering.weebly.com

Ma America, The Travelin' Maven
Author of the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia series and "Train of Clues" (a mystery destination story and predecessor to the JGDS series)
Where will the adventure take you next?
http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

22 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for the information. I always get asked about credit cards and always have to say 'No"

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  2. It's the coolest device, and really doesn't take up much room. Fits on the headphone jack on those devices and I tested it out and it works. The other thing you need is wifi - and need to be an area where wifi is accessible in order to scan the cards but other than that - now the ability to take credit cards for sales transactions. Thanks for stopping by ladies. See you all in the postings. E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
    http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
    http://eeldering.weebly.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tip. I will definitely check it out. I take credit cards through the computer and paypal, but at events it seems more cumbersome than this.

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    Replies
    1. Mary Jo,

      There are some portable, wireless machines you can get but they are costly since you have to purchase them. I've looked into several but this seemed the most beneficial for me. I'm hoping when my taxes come back to either invest in an ipod touch or some other device to not be relying on my daughter's phone at all my upcoming events because she doesn't want to hang out with her mother all the time - lol. I know she's told me that she's seen the Square sold at Target for like $10 and I'm going - don't people know they can get a free Square from the company? - oy - lol.

      Good luck with it and hope you find it as useful at your events and less cumbersome than toting a computer around (the only way I know to take credit cards on the computer is through paypal but usually with a buy now button - not sure how to have a paypal generic credit card whatever on the computer to take credit cards). Keep us posted on how the Square works out for you. After my event next weekend, I'll let you know how things went for me (I'm hoping an increase in sales secondary to teachers being able to use credit cards now) - E :)

      Elysabeth Eldering
      Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
      "The Proposal", a humorous romance ebook
      "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
      "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
      http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
      http://eeldering.weebly.com

      Delete
  4. What a great idea. I applied and hope it comes before next weekend when I am doing a woman's conference and will be selling my books. Thanks for the recommendation and report.

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    Replies
    1. Terri, once your account is set up and you have a device to use the scanner, you can go ahead and download the app on said device and manully key in credit card numbers - a bit more charge but still ability to take the credit cards at the event. It didn't take but a day or two to set up the account information - they deposit a small amount in your checking account and then once you verify it - they take it back out and then you are set up - I think it took a couple of days to get my device but like I said once your account is verified you can download the app on your device - iphone, ipad, ipod touch, smartphone or whatever device is compatible. - remember it needs to be a touch screen for them to sign the receipt. I have mine set right now for no signature required under $25 but may change that - just have to see.

      Glad you are getting hooked up with Square - E :)

      Elysabeth Eldering
      Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
      "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
      "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
      "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
      "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
      http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
      http://eeldering.weebly.com

      Delete
    2. Sadly not yet in the UK but shall certainly be following your reports, Elysabeth, and looking out for it. Sounds great and a good excuse to upgrade my phone :-)

      Delete
  5. What a brilliant idea Elysabeth. I think it's US only (alas), but hoping that soon there will be something similar here. Being able to take cards at signings could easily equate to more book sales/bundling, etc.

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  6. Sorry it's not available outside the US - All the more reason for yall to move here - lol - but maybe there is something similar where ya'll. Have you contacted the company to see what is available in the UK or Australia? - if you google wireless credit card readers will it bring up something for you to check out? I have seen it in action and it is pretty cool. My first posting will be in my this and that column Saturday night, after I return home from my event. Hopefully we can find something similar for ya'll that won't be too pricey either - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
    http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
    http://eeldering.weebly.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Isn't this the one that you need an iPhone to use? Or Android. I told people about it a few months ago in my Sharing with Writers newsletter, but I still don't have the fancy phone! Let me know if I'm way off on this, Elysabeth! (-:

    Best,
    Carolyn

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but any android operating phone that is compatible and able to download apps will work. My daughter has a Pantech Crossover and it is android based so it is compatible and we could download the app without any problem. There are some devices out there that aren't compatible, even tablets that are android based, that won't download the app - that is the biggest thing is being able to download the app because you really don't even need the device to take credit cards. If you are able to apply for an account and can download the app to your device (phone, tablet, ipod, whatever) you can manually key in credit card numbers and info from the card necessary to charge the card.

      The thing I like about it is the ability to send a receipt to the person's email and they have it on file for their records. Of course, with my mindset and all, I'll probably still do paper receipts (need to keep that paper trail for the IRS).

      Carolyn, even without a fancy phone, if you can download apps from the android market it's worth a try. The device is free, the app is free and the charge to swipe/enter credit card info is not very much at all - Good luck with it - E :)

      Elysabeth Eldering
      Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
      "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
      "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
      "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
      "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
      http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
      http://eeldering.weebly.com

      Delete
  8. Great idea! Something to file way for any future in-person events.

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  9. Very interesting. I've always considering setting up for credit cards to be way too expensive for what little I would use it. But this might be the ticket!

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  10. Mari, thing is you can get your account set up and then in the future when you really need it, it's already done. I'm keeping my Square in my cash box so I know exactly where it is at every event.

    Heidi, the thing about those other portable card reader systems is that they charge you a monthly fee whether or not you use the device. The square only charges per swipe - and a very minimal amount if you ask me - so if it's not being used, no swipes being made, no charge to you and you don't even miss that 3 cents on the dollar because it comes out before they deposit the money into your account.

    I'm anxiously awaiting to really get to use mine next Saturday. I'll let ya'll know how it goes, but I have many events set up this year so I have a feeling my Square will be used a good bit. E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
    http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
    http://eeldering.weebly.com

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  11. Sadly not available in Canada either. Sometimes we piggyback on such things. Not this time though.

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  12. Elysabeth,
    I'd love for you to come back and share with us how using the Square goes for you at your event.

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  13. Great article and great advice. This is a wonderful aid with selling your book yourself. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

    Faye

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  14. Eysabeth, what great information. This is an important courtesy for those selling something. I recently had a client ask if I accepted credit cards. Silly me, I haven't gotten this great tool yet, but we were able to work out payments through Paypal.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

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  15. Ah, just read Carolyn's comment - I have a simple smart phone. But, isn't there another service where they send you a small unit that is a cc machine?

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    Replies
    1. Karen, if your smartphone has the ability to download apps from the android market then you have the ability to take credit cards using the Square. There is a page on the website that shows what devices are compatible - so you may want to check it out before deciding your smartphone isn't. It doesn't hurt to set up an account and get the app on your phone and try it out.

      I'd like to invest in something that is compatible so as not to rely on my daughter's phone for my events - but hopefully when taxes come back I can get my own device - E :)

      Elysabeth Eldering
      Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
      "The Proposal", a humorous romance ebook
      "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
      "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
      http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
      http://eeldering.weebly.com

      Delete
  16. Mobile payments are indeed a convenient option offering freedom and mobility for small businesses - and even big businesses. For those in the UK and other European countries (I read a couple of inquiries here) you can check mPowa which is launching very, very soon. You can take credit cards and debit cards with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Fast, simple, no contracts, no monthly fee, no tie-ins.

    All you pay is a small fee of .25% for each credit card or debit card transaction. There are no fees for making cash and check transactions. The mPowa POS system will be first available in the UK and in some parts of Europe but they will be open to the North American market and other parts of the world after that. Check then out at www.mPowa.com.

    Hope this helps! :)

    ReplyDelete

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