Square brings mobile credit card processing to the masses with a miniscule square credit card reader that plugs into the audio jack of popular mobile devices. The app itself is free and there is no monthly service fee. You don’t pay for a merchant service because the service works with your existing bank account. There’s no setup, no contracts and no monthly fees. The card reader that lets you take advantage of the lower authorization rates is free. The transaction fees, however, are not the most affordable on the market. You can have multiple users accepting payments on their own devices all tied to one Square account, but you can only have up to 10 users per account.

The square-shaped credit card reader is the main selling point of the whole mobile credit card processing service. The unique swiper plugs directly into your device through the audio jack, and it’s amazingly small, only about a quarter of an inch thick. It is durable and portable. Square utilizes the device’s touchscreen to allow merchants to capture digital signatures. GPS provides location-based reporting. Customers can enter an email address to receive a customized receipt (or phone number for SMS receipt). The ability to prompt users for tips is useful. Customers can see the percentage and dollar amount and simply tap on the appropriate amount. Merchants can also easily calculate and display sales tax if appropriate. The online transaction manager lets merchants easily see the day’s earnings in detail. The reports can be downloaded in CSV for integrating into a spreadsheet or accounting software. It is not possible to store cllient names and addresses.

More than just mobile credit card processing, Square can also help merchants manage cash transactions, calculating the change and adding the transaction to the reports. Even if you don’t use the credit card swiper (because it’s lost, forgotten or hasn’t arrived yet), you can still process credit cards using the mobile credit card processing app to key in the card information.

The application is user-friendly and takes advantage of the hardware and software of the devices it runs on. The only part of the process that users haven’t found easy to do is at the startup. Even though (and partly because) you don’t have to have a merchant account, Square does require you to provide some basic information about your bank account. But what really throws some users for a loop is that they have to input their credit card information and social security number. Most mobile credit card processing services work exclusively with small businesses and require information to prove you are a business and have a proper bank account. Square is aimed at everyday consumers, so they are required to verify your identity and run a credit check.

Square has all the right organizational security measures in place to protect information. Actual credit card information isn’t stored on the merchant’s device but is transferred and stored with 128-bit encryption (SSL certified by VeriSign). As required by law, Square is PCI-DSS level one compliant. The app is password protected.

Square Summary:

Square is a good mobile credit card processing solution. The service is original, well designed and user-friendly. Pricing is not highly competitive.

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The Square service does not require a merchant account. The Square card reader plugs into iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets.

Square is not the low-price leader.

The Verdict
: 3.75/10

Square is equally good for business purposes or for an individual who just wants to sell a bike.