Small businesses used to have a hard time getting approved to accept credit cards. Getting set up for a merchant account involved passing a credit check, agreeing to a long-term contract, paying monthly fees even if you didn’t accept any payments, and acquiring specialized equipment often with another monthly payment.
Square and its competitors have changed all that. Easy to get set up. No long-term contract. No monthly fees. “Equipment” is just your phone and a tiny plastic doohickie.
This has been a game-changer for small businesses, making many location-independent, letting others take cards “every once in awhile.”
- Food vendors can go mobile.
- Farm stands don’t have to get a phone line.
- Service providers can take payment on any site.
- Small town businesses aren’t constrained by the lack of local banks or merchant services.
- Fair and festival vendors can finally take cards.
At a recent conference, I had a few books on hand that I wanted to take reimbursement for. Square worked perfectly, and I even borrowed fellow speaker Sheila Scarborough‘s Square credit card reader since I forgot mine. (I already had an account, I just forgot my reader.)
Want more info? Read our Square credit card review.
Tell us in the comments: how have mobile credit card devices changed your small town business?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.