Turn a Smart Phone or iPad Into a Credit Card Point-Of-Sale Terminal
By David J. Bilinsky
Square (www.squareup.com) is a revolutionary service and device that turns a smart phone or iPad into a credit card point-of-sale terminal. Imagine being able to take credit card payments – anywhere, anytime – such as at the courthouse, at the client’s home, at the client’s office etc.
Launched by Twitter (www.twitter.com) founder Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, this little device stands to change how lawyers get paid.
Currently, there is no contract, no rental cost, no extra equipment aside from the reader (pictured below) and the associated software, no monthly “fees” or merchant account required. Receipts are sent electronically.
The fees? 2.75 per cent + $0.15 to swipe a card; 3.5 per cent + $0.15 if you have to key-in the card. The reader is free.
Contrast this with existing merchant account contracts where you have to pay a monthly cost for the card reader equipment, enter into a contract and incur setup fees as well as possibly face monthly minimum usage requirements (and pay a penalty fee if you don’t meet the minimum usage amount). There may be other fees and charges levied based on the type of credit card being processed as well as “customer service fees” and such.
Square even provides management reports that track your top clients, taxes, payments by location and more.
All transactions are stated to meet all standard industry security practices detailed at https://squareup.com/security.
There is only one tiny problem with Square – it is only available in the USA (as per their (https://squareup.com/tos) Terms of Service. So unfortunately – for now – Canadian lawyers can’t be hip to be square – unlike our American cousins.
The views expressed herein are strictly those of the author and may not be shared by the Law Society of British Columbia. David J. Bilinsky is the Practice Management Advisor for the LSBC. Email: email@example.com; Blog: www.thoughtfullaw.com.
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of BarTalk and is reproduced here with permission of both the author and the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch.