I’ve talked many times about Square before, mostly because I think it’s an excellent product with a lot of potential. Now, after much anticipation and baited breath, the Square App is finally available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works. You download the Square App [iTunes Link] for your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or all three, then sign up for a free account. After that, just wait for your free card reader to appear in the mail. The reader itself is a small, square dongle which plugs into your headphone jack. Just plug it in, fire up the app, and you’re able to accept credit cards as payment right there on the spot. There is a transaction fee and a percentage charged per transaction, but it’s cheaper and easier than setting up your own merchant account.
So why would you want to do that? Imagine you and a buddy are out at dinner, and the waiter doesn’t want to split up the bill. Just have your friend pay you via Square, then you can pay the bill yourself. Or maybe you have an old Ikea sofa that you want to sell and you’d like to attract more buyers. Mark the sale as “Credit cards accepted,” and watch the additional customers come a calling.
The product itself has hit a few hurdles along the way, and talk of this device has been around for a year or so now. Now there is such a surge in popularity for the product that they’re having problems producing enough Square readers to get them out the door. But it seems like many of those issues have been sorted out and the readers are shipping now. I ordered mine a few weeks ago – it was one of the first apps I downloaded for my iPad – and have yet to receive mine. When I do though, I’ll report on how well it works. Stay tuned.