Small businesses turn to Square for credit transactions

Square takes iPhone payments

SAN FRANCISCO – Cabbie David Mendoza reaches for his iPhone and plugs in a spiffy Square Reader to process a ride’s fare.


“When customers see it, they either say ‘What is that cool device?’ or ‘Hey, that’s Square,’ ” says Mendoza, 32, who used to struggle with a bulky payment device that was slow to pay him and hard to store records on.

Within a week of using Square, Mendoza was sold on the device — as were his customers, many of whom would rather pay with a credit card instead of cash. “I wanted simple, and got it,” says the cab driver.

Mendoza is one in a growing legion of devotees to Square, a credit card-processing company co-founded by Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey. Merchants nationwide have snapped up the small, white plastic device to quickly and inexpensively accept payments.

Despite a struggling economy, Square has found a lucrative niche among small businesses and is becoming a go-to fixture for a variety of companies — ranging from those hawking quirky goods to vendors at local farmers’ markets. Even some Salvation Army bell ringers collect charitable donations via the Square Reader.

This year, Square, which makes its money by collecting transaction fees, has helped merchants process sales for $2 billion worth of luxury goods, such as jewelry, and for specialized services, such as massages and goodies at vegan-doughnut shops. The average purchase on Square: $75.

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