I abandoned my traditional merchant account (i.e. the thing that allows me to process credit cards) and went with Square for events. Here’s why.
The merchant account, through my bank, was killing me with fees. I don’t do events every month. Most of my online payments are made via paypal. My bank charged a monthly “no use” fee and these fees were adding up. Then I added the cost of the terminal lease, the increasing number of miscellaneous fees here and there, and the extra fees to accept various cards. I did the big math. Ugh. Then figured out the percentage I was paying after all was said and done, and cancelled my account that day.
I was apprehensive about cancelling the account. I know that my sales have increased double digits since I began to accept credit cards at events. I needed an alternative. Did a bunch of research and a bunch more math. I signed up for Square.
What is it? It’s this funky little credit card reader that plugs into the audio jack on a smartphone. I used my iPad. Just like a traditional merchant account, the company takes a percentage of your sales (2.75% for swiped sales). Their website has all the gritty details.
Because what was I out if it didn’t work? The reader was free. (I have seen the black reader in Walmart for $10). I already had an iPad so I thought I’d try it.
Here’s a note about the iPad I used. It’s an iPad 2 with 32GB – 3G version with Verizon service price $729. Overkill. The 16GB, $629 version would work great for this but I wanted more GB. I pay $30 per month for 3G internet, but turn this off when I don’t have an event since I’ve already got wi-fi in the studio.
I could write another post and all the ways I use the iPad in my artist practice. So not just for processing credit cards. I liked that I can use a multi-use device – not pay for a credit card terminal that does just one thing.
Okay… So back to square.
The Greyhounds Reach the Beach event at Dewey Beach, Delaware was the first big event where I’ve used this set up. This is my biggest event of the year. This is the event where I take the most credit cards. Did square work? Yes.
Really, really well.
My favorite thing was that I could enter my artwork into the Square app along with price the art work, description, and photo of the work. This made keeping track of sales easy and my tile inventory seamless!
Many people commented on the iPad verses smartphone. They loved the bigger screen and often followed along as I went through the steps. Only thing I would do differently is purchase a stylus for the customer to use to sign their name. The signing with finger worked okay – think the comfort level would be greater with a stylus.
The money appeared in my bank account quickly with no limit of the amount each day.
Very good experience.