Local companies use Square to lower business costs

Tyson Rollins; Tyson Rollins
Dave Westover, co-owner of Dolce Amelia, processes a transaction using Square Register. (Tyson Rollins)

Square, a new method of virtual payment, wants to reduce the normal costs businesses pay for transactions.

The San Francisco company, founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, aims to be a solution for companies processing credit card payments for small and growing companies. Square caters to a variety of industries, but their main market is food and beverage.

J-Dawgs manager Sienna Jensen said she finds Square easy to use. “I’ve worked at two places that use Square,” Jensen said. “They have an easy-to-use interface.”

Provo-based company Waffle Love has a restaurant and food truck that uses Square. Waffle Love manager Tim Petersen said he appreciates the technology’s customization elements.

“We add new waffles to the menu often,” Petersen said. “Square allows us to update prices and menu items on the go.”

Petersen said Waffle Love also utilizes the mobile aspect of processing payments because of its food truck. He said the Magstripe Card Reader is convenient but has been replaced at least twice since he started.

Other Square users echoed reasons for using Square products. Its ease-of-use, intuitive technology and relatively inexpensive costs are some reasons why Dave Westover, co-owner of Dolce Amelia, chose to use Square. “I like that I’m able to update and change items with ease,” Westover said. “I can even import all my tax information into QuickBooks from Square to process my taxes.”

This new technology introduces new habits for customers. “I’ve had several customers expecting a receipt after I swiped their card,” Westover said. “I tell them I can text or email it to them instead and then they’re ok with that.”

An Internet connection isn’t always required but it does ensure that transactions are recorded immediately. “My only issue has been when our network stops working and we can’t process payments,” Jensen said.

Jensen also mentioned Square having an “offline mode” in case faulty connections occur.

Peterson said Waffle Love has had “several connection errors since I’ve worked here. Offline mode has saved us every time.”

But Square has come a long way from its beginning. “Two years ago, Square did not encrypt its data from the card to the phone,” said Sean Fuery, who has worked in card payment processing for more than nine years. “All data is now fully encrypted, which has allowed faster adoption.”

Fuery said Square caters to a certain audience. “They cater to a specific merchant who has fewer sales per year than bigger companies,” Fuery said. “When compared with other merchant services, Square is not the cheapest.”

Square charges a 2.75 percent per transaction fee to the merchant for every swipe for VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Those higher costs haven’t stopped Fuery from using the service himself. “I sell my own salsa and in some cases, I have my customers just pay me through Square,” Fuery said. “It’s convenient.”

Square also caters to the student community with Square Cash. Users can receive money from parents and even friends using their smart phones. A $Cashtag can be created to accept donations from anyone. “You can send a payment or even payback your friends,” a Square spokesperson said.

Square’s goal is to make payments easier for their customers. “We want people to use Square as a one-stop-shop for their business needs,” the Square spokesperson said. Marketing tools are also available to customers to segment and reach out to certain demographics. “Our customers can know who their frequent customers are and reach out to them,” the spokesperson said, “We’re allowing business owners to do things they didn’t think they could do.”

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