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To my surprise, my iPad has become an indispensible part of my practice. I had an iPad long before I went into business for myself and in my never-ending quest to reduce costs via saving on paper, postage, ink, and the like, I turned to the technology at my disposal to run my practice.
From time to time, I’ll post here the various ways I’ve incorporated my iPad and other mobile devices into my practice including what I’ve found helpful and what you should stay away from, and I can think of no better way to start this endeavor than by writing about everyone’s favorite topic: getting paid.
Enter Square. Square is an application that can be loaded on iPads, iPhones, and Android devices that allows you to accept credit card payments directly on your mobile device. It’s simple. Square is a free application available through the App Store or Android Market. Once the application is downloaded on your device, Square sends you a card reader that plugs into your phone’s input jack. Once you link your Square account to your business account, all you have to do is start swiping cards and the money appears in your account by the next morning.
The Good: I can accept payments via credit or debit cards anywhere I have a connection to wireless internet or 3G. Once I have a client ready to sign up, all I have to do to get my retainer fee is swipe the client’s credit card (this is a no no for bankruptcies). More and more people are leaving their checkbooks at home. It’s always to your advantage to seal the deal as soon as possible.
The Bad: Square gets 2.75% of every transaction you make. That’s a significant fee—over a full percentage point of what my bank would charge for a similar service. My bank’s device, however, has to remain tethered to the wall in order to be used. So use Square as a last resort. If the client has cash on hand, take it. And remember, checks often bounce. I’ll take guaranteed money any day, even if it means I lose a little on the front end.