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Why Yes, I Do Accept Credit!

by J. Money on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

square up gadget credit cards<– Check out this insanely awesome doo-dad I picked up (FOR FREE) the other day at SXSW. You attach it to your fancy iPhone and you can make fancy credit card transactions! WINNING!!! D’UH!! Haha… is Charlie Sheen still “in”?

Seriously though, this little piece of technology is incredible – totally changes the game.  Having this in your pocket means you can literally accept money ANYWHERE and ANYTIME. You no longer need one of those clunky small business credit card machines – or even have to BE a small business!

This puts the power of the swipe in YOUR hands, baby. Insane. I’m kinda mad I didn’t come up with it myself, but then again I don’t have the brain of Jack Dorsey who not only started this guy, but also Twitter ;)  When you’re smart, you’re smart!

But anyways, if you’re still wondering how this can actually help you in real life, here’s a list of everything I could think of when a friend of mine doubted it’s brilliance.  If you’ve got more to add, lemme know in the comments and I’ll update the list:

  • At a yard sale (I don’t know why that was the first thing that came to mind).  Your buyers run out of cash?  Swipey swipe away!  Perfect for big ticket items where people have to go home and then come back with their checkbook.  This saves everyone time! And a solid sale too – half the time these jokers never come back.
  • At your art/craft show. Or really ANYWHERE you’re selling something. I tried it for the first time when I bought Jenny Blake‘s new book last week!  In person, nowhere near a register. Was crazy – took a handful of seconds and even emailed me a receipt.  It’s the new sexy way of doing bizness, I’m telling ya! (Her new book is Life After College by the way, check it out! Lots of great info – esp on the pages I’m quoted, haha…)
  • When a friend owes you money! You know those guys who never have cash on them?  Well guess what – now you can get your money much faster. Don’t let them “forget”!
  • When you babysit/mow lawns/hustle in general. You can get paid right then and there w/ your new fancy device!
  • When you’re the organizer of your intramural team. If any of you have ever run your own sports team, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have to front the money to register in the league, and then wait for all your teammates to eventually pay you back.  It’s super annoying and some people just don’t get it. If you had one of these though?  No more waiting for checks!

And on and on and on… basically, whenever you need money from someone on the spot you can get it.  Provided they trust you enough to give you their card ;)  But hell, it was just like the internet was years ago!  “Don’t trust it! They’ll trick you!”  I bet in 5 years every phone will be accepting payments and cash will be extinct! haha… nah, that would actually suck.  But you better believe new inventions like this is really impacting the way we evolve.  And you can now say you were THERE to watch it all happen :)

Questions/comments/concerns? Check out SquareUp.com for more info – you can get one for free too by signing up there and start poking around with it.  Also lots of good FAQs for y’all curious minds.  If you haven’t guessed it already, they charge a fee around 3% or so per transaction – which is why they want these bad boys scattered all around.  Price you pay for convenience!

What do you think? Gonna get one? Any other creative ways to take advantage of this thing? If you’re wondering if I’m getting paid to pimp this, I’m not.  It just turns me on like crazy ;)


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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauryn March 23, 2011 at 7:29 am

Considering how much I love friends who “don’t have cash on them” when it’s time to pay up, this would definitely make things worthwhile.

Now, if only I could print receipts *then* and *there*

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2 Matt March 23, 2011 at 7:49 am

Mine is in the mail and will be here in 3-7 days. Thanks for recommending

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3 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 7:53 am

I have a huge issue with this device. Woudn’t be hard and I could crack the sofware on my Iphone/Droid to save all the transactions to a file on my phone. Now I’ve got your CC info to do what I want with it and spend away :-)

With all of these CC skimmers floating around I’m really iffy where I’m going to swip my card thru. Sure you might have some protection but do you really want to fight and deal w/ all the hassle of trying to figure all that out. I’ve had it happen to a few friends of mine and its not a pretty site.

Till I get a paper trail and a trusted vendor I’m going to stick to cash/check and CC if I really need to (but I pay all that off in full anyhow so whats it matter to me)

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4 Lulu March 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

Well this would totally ruin my plans for avoiding buying things by not carrying cash. Now at work they would be able to ignore my ‘I don’t carry cash or checks’ and whip this out and say well just swipe your card. Ha ha.

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5 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com March 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

If I had a business where I took payments, I’d probably get one. I don’t think I would use one though unless it was someone I knew, because I don’t want them to have my card info.

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6 Andrea March 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

Thanks for mentioning this. I work for a nonprofit and this would be a great way to collect credit card donations on the fly.

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7 Clare - Never Niche March 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

A friend of mine used this on a ski trip in February. He ordered us a gajillion pizzas and then went around the room and collected. It was so cool.

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8 gharkness March 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I don’t see any mention of fees. If I spend $20 on pizza and go around and pick up $20 of payments, I am going to be sorely disappointed when I am stuck with the rest of the bill after the fees are taken out.

As always, the devil is in the details, and (especially considering the security concerns as otherwise addressed) I really don’t think the details are a good thing here.

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9 Greg March 21, 2013 at 3:54 am

Most sates legally allow you to charge a credit card surcharge. So on your dashboard go to the tax section and type what percentage you would like to make the surcharge, likely 2.75% as that is what Square charges you, and voila – the charge is added and you are, well, square. note: there is space to add multiple surcharges such as credit and state sales tax, there is even an option for a tip. Check out the website, all the information is there!

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10 J. Money March 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

Good to know, thx!

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11 Lindy Mint March 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I went to a hip urban coffee shop recently and paid with a debit card. They pulled out an iPad and swiped my card, and I signed the screen. It was fancy-shmancy-pants, I was quite impressed. I don’t know if it was the same device, but I can see how it would be of good use to small business owners.

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12 J. Money March 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

@Lauryn – One day soon phones will do it all, baby! In the meantime, just carry a mini-printer around with you – no biggie. Haha….
@Matt – Awesome! Glad you found this useful :) Let us know if you end up using it in any clever ways – interested to see how different we work it.
@Kevin – So you’re saying you’re not going to come to my yard sale and give me your credit card? Booooooo…. i’ll just steal it from your pocket like a magician then ;)
@Lulu – Haha, hadn’t thought about that. No more getting out of company birthday presents ;)
@Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – I’m pretty sure the software takes the info and stores it somewhere off the phone (i.e. we couldn’t keep your number to ourselves even if we wanted to) but I could be wrong. I’ll have to poke through the FAQs more.. although they’re pretty smart entrepreneurs, I’m confident they found a way to overcome this issue before even producing these guys ;) but again, until it takes off mainstream it’ll be hard to convince people to hand their card over for sure.
@Andrea – Oooooooh yeah! Excellent use for it, I hope it works out well!
@Clare – Never Niche – See that! Smart man :)
@gharkness – True, you lose like 3% of the transaction. If you don’t mind waiting for your money, or it’s gauranteed you’d get it back from people, it’s probably not worth it. Pros and cons.
@Lindy Mint – Interestingly enough I believe the founder of this STARTED testing it in a coffee shop :) In Cali somewhere, maybe San Fran? Is that where your coffee shop is? Would be cool.

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13 20 and Engaged March 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I would definitely considering getting one (and an iphone for that matter). That thing can seriously come in handy in probably thousands of different scenarios.

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14 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I guess I should watch my wallet a little more close around J.Money :-) haha

But for those that like to play around 3:-]> (My devil Face) here are some apps that will read your card info and save it to a txt file all you need is the reader SquareUp.

little app that works much like the SquareUp device and from what I’ve read as well (should work with it) I haven’t tested it myself but others said it does. http://sourceforge.net/projects/magstripper/

other one is mslib (https://github.com/ieatlint/mslib) which is used in the Symbian App MagRead, which already can use the square reader to read driver’s licenses, rewards cards, etc. It doesn’t support a wide range of card encodings, though.

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15 retirebyforty March 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Cool device. This is great for small/tiny entrepreneur everywhere. Now the food carts in town can take credit cards. :)

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16 Sandy @ yesiamcheap March 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I’ve seen this a million times before and read about it in INC but my problem is that I don’t own an iAnything. I don’t support MAC but I want this dohickey. What’s a girl to do?

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17 Financial Uproar March 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

This product sounds really cool. I want one, even though I probably wouldn’t have a use for it.

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18 Yana March 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

They sure ask for a lot of info – like a SS number. However, I registered and had them send me a link. It doesn’t work with my Android version for some reason – couldn’t get the app at all. I take it to mean I wasn’t meant to use it ;)

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19 Jenny Blake March 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

“new sexy way of doing bizness” – I love it!! Your intro about Charlie Sheen cracked me up too. Love that little white device!!! It’s saving me from the pain of cash and checks.

<3 you J$!

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20 Adam March 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Insane dude, how did I miss out on one?! I love that you can now say “I take cash or credit”. Rockin’ it.

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21 Jason L March 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Of course, this is super handy for anyone who has a mobile business (e.g. kiosk owner, etc). However, the only thing I wonder about is whether customers will think it looks fraudulent if you’re essentially taking their credit card and punching it through your *phone*? :)

I’m sure people will get used to these though. Great pickup!

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22 kh March 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I have one and use it on my android phone for my side biz. It’s great. Yes the 3% fee is a little higher than a lot of regular merchant accounts, but there’s no monthly fee, no statement fee, no non-use fee, no contract. you use it, you pay your 3%. Any company anywhere that processes credit for you is going to charge you for it. it’s part of doing business. Consumers are only just now starting to realize this .. businesses PAY to take your credit card.

Anyway. Naysay away those of you who do. I find it’s very useful in my line of business and allows me to take payments and provide instant receipts to my customers.

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23 J. Money March 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm

@20 and Engaged – Oh man, the iPhone alone is a world of difference! haha…
@Kevin – Thanks for playing devil’s advocate my man, I tend to get all happy in la-la land and it’s smart to take in all the crazy cons as well. Good lookin’ out.
@retirebyforty – Ooooh yes! Great idea.
@Sandy @ yesiamcheap – Haha… I think you can get it on the Droid too? Or some other smart phone. But don’t worry, one day it’ll be build in to all phones ;)
@Financial Uproar – Yeah, i’m not sure I will all the way either, but i am excited to start playing around with it more.
@Yana – Yikes! Maybe once v2 comes out you’ll be fine :)
@Jenny Blake – I bet! I was a virgin with it too until I met you, haha…. we “swiped” together ;)
@Adam – I dunno yo, I think I picked this up at one of those restaurant parties at some point. You can get one off their site though if you want — although not sure if it’s compatible int he UK yet?
@Jason L – Yeah, that’s the crappy part about new crazy things like this. In theory they work great! But until they’re more mainstream people will have their worries. Guess that’s the way the game is played!
@kh – Oooohhhh someone who has it put to use already, I like it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts my friend :) Very cool to know how well it’s going for ya. Keep rockin’ that.

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24 Jon the Saver March 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Haha, imagine getting in a car accident and the other guy knows it was his fault. You could pull this thing and say swipe here! Seriously, this is technology at it’s best. This are going to go over really well I bet.

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25 Debt Donkey March 23, 2011 at 11:35 pm

This looks like big trouble to me. Every knucklehead with a phone and a swipe-thingy can store credit card information (if you’re dumb enough to give it to him). Technology like this, literally everywhere, will make so many more opportunities for identity thieves and rip-off artists. Color me skeptical. I like cash baby!

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26 Salman Khan March 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

awesome device, i love it.. there should be a system of printing receipts in it somehow also.

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27 J. Money March 24, 2011 at 11:52 am

@Jon the Saver – hahah… now THAT is creative thinking!
@Debt Donkey – well, by the time they’re everywhere we won’t even have credit cards anymore — there will be chips in our palms that changes #’s every 24 hours so no way of getting to your money! ;) of course, then the sickos will just go around cutting off hands…. *shiver*
@Salman Khan – well, it does email you one. probably better to have the soft copy to print at your leisure so you don’t lose the hard one, right? although i know chances are you go out of your way to print is slimmer.

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28 Broke College Grad March 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I went to a seminar two weeks ago and one of the presenters had that app. A girl paid for a book she bought with her card using this app. This makes me want to get rid of my Blackberry even more! It just cant do the things that the iPhone and Android can. I want and Android phone. I can’t get an iPhone because I can’t do all touch screen and I need good insurance.

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29 WifeyofaRoadie March 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm

This is awesome! My husband should get one so when his clients are late on their payments then he can say he takes credit! Thanks for this!
Wifey of a Roadie -Out!

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30 Kerry March 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Wow – This is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I signed up and am SO excited to have my garage sale and post a sign that says, “Credit Cards accepted!”

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31 Sunslant March 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I have two accounts, one for my business, and one for personal. I love it, it’s easy, and it’s MUCH easier that writing down the CC # and processing it later (especially if you wrote it down wrong).

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32 Kelly March 26, 2011 at 12:02 am

I wonder how PCI compliance adherence works with that little thing….

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33 Keesha March 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Thanks but no thanks!

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34 Brandon March 27, 2011 at 4:15 am

Its an interesting concept, but I agree with many of the comments in that I don’t know if I’d fully trust someone with one. There are already lots of people out there with credit card skimmers or readers for those touch-less cards, this just seems to make things easier for them.

That said, for those that do trust it it sounds like a great opportunity. I have a friend who sells art at local markets that would definitely benefit from something like this, and the 3% transaction fee for something like that would be a pretty negligible part of doing business.

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35 Stephanie March 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

This does seem pretty cool, but I guess I’d be afraid to trust people with it…
If I were a local merchant, I could see using it, as long as other people trusted me with it.

Since I don’t have an iPhone and don’t have any real need to collect money from people, it’s not for me, but I do think it could be pretty useful for small businesses!

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36 kh March 28, 2011 at 1:57 am

For the people who don’t “trust” the device or the people who use it … let me get this straight – without any understanding of the way the data is encrypted and transmitted, you’re going to say you don’t trust it. But you’ll hand your credit card or debit card to someone at a restaurant, right? And let them walk away with it to charge you? So what’s to keep them from writing down your card number and all the info on it and using the card? If you’re that paranoid, then why use your card at all?

And if you don’t trust the person you’re paying, then why are you doing business with them?

I’m really baffled by these statements.

For the record, NO data is stored on my phone or in my account. Everything is encrypted and the only thing that shows up on the receipt is the last 4 digits of the card.

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37 J. Money March 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm

@Broke College Grad – Yeah, do it! Blackberry’s are so 2008 ;)
@WifeyofaRoadie – Haha, there you go! Hard to ignore right there in person ;)
@Kerry – If you do that you HAVE TO take a picture and let me know!! Hahaha… that would be all kinds of awesome ;) And then I’d post it on this blog and make you famous!! woooo!!!! haha…
@Sunslant – Very cool, I like that idea. Writing it down would make me crazy nervous.
@Kelly – Nooooo idea… but then again, I don’t even know what “PCI compliance adherence” is ;)
@Keesha – You’re welcome, but you’re not welcome ;)
@Brandon – Oh yeah, def. good for art. And people you trust ;)
@Stephanie – yup! :)
@kh – Haha, you actually make a valid point there. Too bad no one’s taking you up on the answer! :)

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38 sunil December 16, 2011 at 1:43 am

I am trying to make a android app. that will read the credit card information as square up app does. I got two reference magstripper,and mslib. but its very difficult to use them. mslib is based on C++. I am not comfortable with c++. Only basic knowledge i have. and i tried to do with magstripper.. but it doesn’t work on my pc. so how can i judge the right way .where should i sink for my problem.. Please anybody ..suggest …. Thanks..

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39 J. Money December 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

Oh man, I have no idea… I hope someone does though so you can give it a good shot! I think the more options we have out there, the better. Good luck with it all! :)

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