THE TRUTH ABOUT SQUARE: Merchants Say The Dongle Doesn't Work

square card reader main image

Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider

Square card readers are the cool new way to accept credit cards at your small business.We visited a few places in New York City to find out how they liked their Square readers, and what parts of Square aren’t working out so well.

Square did not answer requests to comment on this story.

In order to find some places that use Square readers, I downloaded the Card Case app and used the Explore tool.

Here's Grumpy Cafe, a coffee shop in Chelsea that uses Square.

This guy says that the shop's owners are getting ready to deploy Square at their other locations because they like it so much.

Our favourite part of this adventure? Getting a push notification the second our credit card was charged.

The gorgeous Card Case app keeps track of your recent transactions.

Here's another stop, Everyman Espresso in Greenwich Village. Seems like coffee shops are going to be a trend here.

We walked up to the counter and immediately saw an iPad with a Square reader, sitting on top of a cash drawer.

Good! He's friendly and willing to answer questions about using Square!

Inputting orders is simple, but the Square app crashes sometimes. Fortunately, it only takes a second to open the app up again.

The cashier's biggest gripe with Square was the crummy quality of the card reader itself. It doesn't always work when you swipe one hundred credit cards per day.

The quality of the coffee, however, was pretty spectacular.

We got judged by coffee shop hipsters for taking too many pictures.

Next up is Ports Coffee and Tea Co.

According to the cashier here, Square doesn't work well on mediocre internet connections. They now use Square over the iPad's 3G service.

So what's the verdict on Square?

Everyone we talked to seemed to agree that Square saves money and time, but the credit card reader dongles are of poor quality.

We also heard that you need a pretty decent internet connection to use Square so the app doesn't get bogged down. Even though conventional credit readers use an old 56K phone connection, they might be more reliable because they're not wireless.

Ultimately, Square is worth checking out because of the excellent way it handles receipts, the low 2.75% cut the company takes on transactions, and because of its overall 'novelty value.'

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