(photo of Square credit card reader by wernerramaekers)
So you want to open a small business. A food truck, maybe? Or you want to sell your product at a market, or an office building, or you're an unconventional physician that wants to make house calls. One problem: Credit cards. Many of your customers aren't carrying cash - and even if they are, limiting yourself to just those lucky few probably isn't the best strategy. Credit card machines are a small hurdle, though - they come with contracts, and merchant fees, and most importantly, don't travel very well. "Small businesses don't have access to taking credit cards because you have to get a merchant account. And that takes three to four weeks to get it processed. And that's just really complicated." That's Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter's co-founders.
Enter Square, Dorsey's new venture. Simple name, simple device. It's a tiny - and free - reader that plugs into the headphone jack on an iPad, an iPhone, or an Android phone. Set up your account with Square, and they ship you a "square" - and you're off to the races. Square takes a small cut, and you get the convenience of a mobile card reader - and the app can track purchases for your accounting purposes. What if you're not a small business or want to be? What if you're just the mom heading the PTA bake sale? No big deal - it's the same concept whether you sell two cookies, five hundred scarves, or your skills at playing virus-remover.
One less hurdle. So what are you waiting for? Take that small-business idea to the streets.
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