Here’s a pretty cool video I found that talks about the Square card reader. (I’ve got one of these, by the way, and it’s totally awesome). Here, the Wall Street Journal interviews Jack Dorsey, (also the co-founder of Twitter). It’s kind of funny to me—both Twitter and Square are incredibly simple ideas. Actually, two of the simplest ideas anyone’s come up with in a long time.
Square is a great example of one of those things in life that was so obvious that it should have been invented decades ago. Really, why on earth is it so hard for small merchants to accept credit cards? There’s no good reason for it. When I started my business, I looked into getting a merchant services account, but it was extremely complicated, the rate sheets looked like my mortgage amortization tables, and there were monthly fees to a not insignificant sum. “What if I just want to accept a few small payments a year?” I asked one credit card processesor. “Umm, you’d still have to sign the contract and pay the monthly fee” is what I was told.
I still don’t remember how I heard about Square the first time (though I have a sneaking suspicion that it was through Twitter). But as soon as I saw it, I signed up for an invite. I absolutely had to get one! It was what I had been waiting for. I could finally have a way to handle payments when the occasional customer asked “do you accept credit cards?“
So, I can’t believe it took until 2010, but we’re finally living in an era where you can just swipe your credit card into a reader on your cell phone and make a payment. And it’s long overdue.