Sixty-nine percent of Americans carry less than $50 in cash, and thirty-eight percent don’t write checks, which can make it hard to take payments on site. When you’re reliant on invoices and phone calls to collect payments, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks, and the way the demographics skew, it looks like cash and check utilization will decrease as younger generations come of age. Many people simply don’t carry any cash at all. If you don’t take plastic, you’re alienating a huge portion of your customer base.
Thankfully, credit card processing and electronic payments are easy to handle with the right technology. There are tons of services out there aimed at small businesses, offering tons of ways for customers to pay. With the right setup, you’ll be able to accept credit cards onsite, integrate them with your existing invoice systems, and use the collected payment data to track and analyze your work. There are even mobile payment devices that work with EMV chip cards, and NFC payment systems like Google Wallet and Apple Pay.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at one of the most popular payment processing companies on the market: Square. We’ll show you how their services work, how they integrate with FieldPulse’s own tools, how much it costs, and how it can all make your life a lot easier.
What is Square?
Square is a company that offers software and equipment for payment processing, that’s been expanding into other markets such as project management and marketing. They’re known best for their smartphone attachment, which allows service businesses to take payments on the spot, but they also offer storefront scanners, counter POS systems, and business loans. In many ways, they’re the in-person counterpoint to Paypal’s online model, helping small businesses accept money in face-to-face interactions.
Square is one of the oldest, but definitely not the only, mobile credit card processing service around. Other companies, including Intuit, Paypal, and Chase, have gotten in on the game, but Square still tops the reviews in with their services and fee structure and are the most widely used mobile payment service. They’re well known for their iconic square-shaped phone attachment that reads magnetic strip credit cards, as well as their tablet stands and mobile software.
Square integrates with a wide variety of other digital services, including our own, to create a seamless payment processing system. It can be connected to eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, tax programs like TaxJar, and even inventory tools like DEAR. Depending on your needs, you can even create custom apps that integrate with their API, allowing you to combine your existing technology with Square’s systems for even greater workflow improvements.
For FieldPulse, Square integrates directly into the invoicing system. When you link your Square account with your FieldPulse account, you can easily start a Square transaction based on your FieldPulse invoice, and any payments accepted via Square will be sent back into FieldPulse to mark payment and store the transaction number. That way you’ll have a unified record of where, when, and how each invoice was paid.
If you’re looking for an expanded suite of tools, Square also offers solutions specifically for service businesses, which includes analytical tools and offline payment processing. Simply put, Square, and services like them, play a key part in modern payment processing. If your business doesn’t accept credit cards, you’re losing customers. Fast.
How Much Does it Cost?
Square’s core services use the same model that most credit card processing systems do; they charge a percentage of the sale, plus a small fee. Payments taken through the card reader cost 2.75%, and manually entered payments cost 3.5%, plus an additional 15 cents. Next-day deposits are free, while instant deposits cost 1% of the transferred amount.
To put that in context, that’s the same per-transaction cost of PayPal’s card reader and it falls into the same price range offered by Intuit, PayAnywhere, and other companies. Unlike many other services, though, Square’s rate is a flat rate; it’s the same for every credit card company as long as you’re in the U.S. This makes calculating your margin significantly easier, as you don’t have to worry about an extra 1-4% variance on top of existing processing fees.
You’ll get one free smartphone reader with your account, and additional card readers range from $29 for their basic “dock” reader to $129 for a Muria handheld unit. They also have readers for NFC payment methods, which means you can accept payments from Google Wallet and Apple Pay, and newer readers for the more secure EMV chip cards.
How Square Can Help Your Business
You don’t need to deal with late invoices when customers pay onsite as nearly everyone has a credit card or debit card. Properly implemented, a mobile credit card processing system reduces the amount of time you have to spend generating, sending, and following up on invoices or cashing checks. It smooths the gap between earned revenue and available revenue, and reduces the chance that you’ll have to take someone to small claims court.
Square also helps you create a seamless record-keeping system, making it easier to track payments and projects by connecting with your project management and financial software. If you’re still reliant on paper invoices, or you’re manually numbering payments in order to track what projects they’re related to, you’re behind the curve.
Square can help you modernize your workflow by reducing errors in invoicing and payment processing, protecting both your reputation and revenue. Reducing your reliance on paper invoices and physical checks can help you streamline your payment systems, reducing your related payroll expenses as well.
All considered, there’s no reason not to use some kind of digital payment processing system. Mobile payment processing is becoming increasingly common in the small business sphere, and as time goes on, the need for it will only grow. It makes doing business easier for you and for your customers, and it helps you track and adjust your sales process without having to touch paper records. With modern card readers that accept EMV chip cards, you’ll also enjoy an extra layer of security that adds legitimacy to your business.
Whether you use Square or a similar payment system, staying up with payment processing and financial trends is good for business.