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Think Outside the Square: Analyzing the Cost Effectiveness of Square’s Mobile Processing Solution

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Amad Ebrahimi
Amad has worked in the eCommerce and online marketing world since 2002. He started as an eBay seller, then slowly graduated to building & marketing his own websites and consulting others to do the same. He founded Merchant Maverick out of frustration with all the misinformation and shady tactics that he encountered when trying to find a merchant account for his and his client's businesses. He's the man behind most of the merchant account reviews, and articles posted on MerchantMaverick.com. Have any questions related to credit card processing? Talk to him.
Amad Ebrahimi
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14 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Patrick

    Really good article. I have a start-up travel business and while my transaction amounts are typically between $1000-3500 (my highest volume month to date was $6700), there are months that I’m not doing any transactions. We don’t do any swiping, only keying in as all transactions are via phone. Typical merchant setups charge ridiculous access fees customer service fees, security fees, location fees, network fees, the list goes on. Is Square a good option to typical merchant accounts or are there better merchant processors that charge very little in recurring monthly fees? I’m looking for the best way to go until my sales are consistent.

      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Patrick,

      You could contact Square and see if they will accommodate your business, but I suspect, as a travel business, you will be classified as “High Risk“. If that is the case, you’ll be limited in your choices and also subject to higher fees, unfortunately. That said, there are still good options available.

        Dean Wolslagel

        Nice site and very informative !

          Nick Sandberg

          Quick question – is Square only available in US and Canada so far? Do you know if there is any plans of offering their services in Europe where there is a larger percentage of smaller businesses in most countries.

            Chloe Bahal

            Hi Nick,

            Unfortunately Square doesn’t offer services in Europe at this time, but it is something that is being looked into. Here is a list of countries that works with Square.

              Crystal Puente

              I am starting a company where all transactions will be $90.00 and card not present. Averaging $90,000.00 per month. Still can’t figure out which way will be cheaper for me. Any help would be appreciated.

              Thanks in advance,

              C. Puente

                Chloe Bahal

                Hi Crystal,

                I am going to send you an email right now so please keep an eye out for it.

                  Lynn Bell

                  This article does sum up the “basic” truth behind square vs merchant accounts. But it only covered TIERED pricing. There is a method to blow square completely out of the water if your have an agent representing a morally sound company. Yeah, I know this sounds like a far fetch but trust me, it can happen.

                    Dennis Melancon Jr

                    This hits it on the head. For small and upstart businesses like mine, Square is the right choice.

                      kelly Devine

                      I am opening up a small garden center and I’m very confused about the square.I recently found out that it does not process debit cards only tracts them .I would then also need a separate for debit customers to pay .Is there an easier way for payments? Should I just go with the standard counter machine or is the square still going to be convenient enough to warrent 2 forms of payment.Do you know if they intend to start taking debit on the square.I live in Canada so the system may be different here .If you have any suggestions I am open to it.
                      Kelly

                        Tom DeSimone

                        Hi Kelly,

                        Accepting debit cards via mobile app is tricky for Canadian businesses. (I will update the review to make this limitation clear.) I’d suggest you talk to Helcim and just use a countertop machine. The lower rates you’ll get at Helcim versus Square will make it so the machine pays for itself very quickly.

                        Good luck,
                        Tom

                          Dana Hudson

                          Great article and confirms the conclusion I’ve recently come to about the most appropriate payment platform for my new business. My friend and I started our own candle making company earlier this year. I researched and number of Merchant Services options, including square, before deciding on Flagship Merchant services. At first, they seemed to offer the best deal – ranging from 0.98%-1.98% + $0.09 per transaction depending on the type (check card, card present or card not present. But then there’s also $7.95/month for the Flagship account, $7.95/month for the mobile card reader, & $25 for the monthly minimum fee. That monthly minimum fee wasn’t discussed or explained to us at all when we signed up for the account, though it was in the fine print of the contract. Check out – http://merchantwarehouse.com/glossary/monthly-minimum – for a good explanation. Long story short, is that Square is the most cost-effective option for our small monthly volume of credit card sales (<$1500). The seemingly very high 2.75% per transaction fee is offset by the fact that there are absolutely no other charges at all.

                            Chris Baer

                            Great breakdown. It was nice to get a sense of what volume works best/is most cost effective for the Square solution. As a healthcare provider we are often bombarded with merchant service quotes and who can save money for us and they numbers they give us are always biased. Even Square appears to have more hidden until you look at the break-even analysis. Nice article

                              Billy Martin

                              The main point of consideration in most businesses is not really the volume, but rather the average transaction amount. That is the factor that changes your numbers the most. For instance, my average transaction is $8.00. At that, the best card processing to be found will cost $200 more dollars than Square, at the $10000 of volume. If I had the $50 average transaction, then Square does lose out, though. Everyone has to run the numbers their respective business produces, as you pointed out.
                              Good article…

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