PR Log - Jul 09, 2012 - Square appears to be the new name in businesses’ credit card transactions, featured as one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in February 2012 and publicized by major news agencies like CBS, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and the New York Times. Beneath the sleek design and infamous founder Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter) however, exists a company that could do much more to inhibit advancements in the credit card processing industry than advance them for small business owners looking to turn a profit.
The Square website offers the application for free, the Square Card Reader for free, no monthly fees, no set-up costs, no merchant account, all alongside transparent pricing. Initially these gains are appealing to small business owners looking to bring in a profit without losing their gains to merchant account service companies. However by working with Square, businesses lose customer service and the security of having a reputable company backing them in the event of a chargeback as well as higher processing costs.
The Square website assumes a 2.75% processing cost for major card holders Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. This percentage equates to a $27.50 cost per month if your business is processing under $1000 per month. Merchant account provider rates average between a 1.5-2.5%. The potential savings for a business processing the same $1000 per month comes out to $6 when working with such a provider. When the monthly yield of a business increases to $5000 those savings increase to $12 per month; at $10,000 those savings become $40 per month.
The math does not lie, yet Dorsey may very well be skimming the truth in his claims appearing in a TechCrunch video: “we wanted to allow people to very easily and quickly, within 10 seconds, be able to accept these plastic devices as payment; to be able to accept credit cards easily and efficiently.” The easy swipe of the card is one of the biggest complaints issued by individuals using Square. The failsafe option of keying in a transaction may save your business face when the cardswipe fails, but the cost of manually entering in a card is 3.5% plus an additional 15 cents per transaction.
Merchants processing over $1000 in a week through the “keyed” entry have the additional hassle of having their money placed in a 30-day hold cycle to prevent fraud. CheapestMerchantAccounts.com, the leader in merchant account reviews, has received numerous responses to their analysis of Square citing the frustration of numerous business owners. The question continually raised by these individuals is “Why is my money being held?” a question that Square fails to rectify. With a lack in customer service (no phone support exists, though email support is available), business owners looking to see their customers’ payments in their bank account is met by email responses rather than Square employees.
The frustration does not stop at merchants. Customers mention a fear of being charged multiple times as they watch merchants try again and again to swipe their card when the wireless signal fails and the “Authorizing” screen times out. MasterCard and Visa may back Square, yet the product shows a continued inability to read such cards. When a customer begins to question a business’ ability to process something as simple as a transaction one wonders if they will begin to question their trust in the business itself.
CheapestMerchantAccounts.com co-founder Gerald Evans, recommends small businesses processing over $1000 per month leave Square behind as “the limitations of Square continue to be noted for those small business owners that need to process real volume or have to move through sales quickly. If the cool factor is outweighed by the limitations this would be another reason to go with a traditional merchant account rather than Square.”
The bottom line is what matters. Square offers the new age look at the cost of customer service and long-term savings. Any business considering Square should consider the value they place in their own company- invest in a fad that could lose them more business than it brings in or invest in a stable merchant account provider whose reputation secures continued customer satisfaction.