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Square: Credit Card Processing

Whether you’re a small business, consultant, or freelancer, or even an artisan showcasing your work at a local crafts show, one of the easiest ways to set up a merchant account and be able to accept credit card payments within a few minutes is to use the Square app and credit card processing service.

Begin by visiting http://squareup.com to set up a free account. Next, from the App Store, download the free Square app. To use the Square service in order to accept and process credit card transactions, there are no upfront costs, no contracts to sign, no recurring monthly fees, and no hidden charges. You simply pay a flat 2.75% fee per transaction (as long as you swipe the customer’s credit card). Without the card swipe, each transaction costs $.15 plus 3.5% of the transaction.

Square even provides a free, and extremely small, credit card swiper that attaches to the iPad through the unit’s headphones jack. You can use it to swipe credit cards and process transactions, or you can manually enter credit card information from your customers or clients.

The free Square app accepts an onscreen signature from your customer, processes the transaction, and promptly emails your customer a detailed receipt. The proceeds from the transaction are transferred directly to the checking or savings account you have linked to your Square account.

Within minutes of setting up a Square merchant account, you are able to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and debit card payments using your iPad.

Before using the app for the first time to process credit card transactions, you can set up onscreen icons that represent each item you’re selling. You can include the item name, price, whether sales tax should be charged, and a brief item description. You also can attach a photo of that item.

When you’re ready to accept a credit card payment, simply launch the Square app, enter the transaction amount or tap a preprogrammed Item icon (based on what’s being purchased), swipe the customer’s credit card, and have the customer sign your iPad’s screen. Then the app connects to the Internet and securely processes the transaction within seconds.

Being able to accept major credit cards and debit cards, especially while working offsite, offers a huge advantage to small businesses, consultants, freelancers, and entrepreneurs while also offering added convenience to customers.

Square offers an efficient and low-cost way to be able to handle credit card transactions from any location and automatically maintain detailed records of each transaction that you can later export to bookkeeping or inventory management software on a primary computer.

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