Six months ago, for use at craft shows, I ordered a Square contactless and chip card reader. Unlike Square’s free reader that runs traditional credit cards with a magnetic stripe, this reader cost $49.99, with a promise that any transaction fees incurred during the first three months after delivery would be refunded. The new reader functions one of two ways:
- You can “dip” the credit card into the reader and leave it in place for the duration of the sale.
- You can hold contactless devices (such as an iPhone using Apple Pay’s NFC, or Near Field Communication, feature) near the reader to trigger payment.
Because of laws shifting responsibility for credit card fraud toward the party with less secure technology, sellers were urged to upgrade their credit card technology to accept chip-enabled credit cards by October 1st of last year. There is no law, however, requiring you to do so. You can read more about the new laws and liability on Square’s New Payment Technologies page, or visit What Etsy Sellers Should Know About EMV Credit Cards. EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, by the way.
Square’s intention was to ship the new readers to sellers in early fall of last year, but when that didn’t happen, they offered Liability Shift Protection for those who had ordered the new readers. Well, my new Square reader finally arrived yesterday, wrapped in a cute little box.
According to the back side of the box, the new app allows you to accept payments, tips, generate digital receipts and reports, take inventory, and more. Whether you are tapping (using the contactless feature), dipping (using a chip-enabled card), or swiping (running a card with a magnetic stripe through Square’s traditional reader, also included in the box), you pay 2.75% per transaction. Funds are deposited in your bank account automatically within one to two business days, and most importantly, you now have the most secure technology possible to protect you liability-wise against credit card fraud—assuming, of course, that you follow best business protection practices and best practices for accepting credit cards.
The new Square reader, incidentally, is made for both iOS (Apple) or Android devices with Bluetooth LE. You can visit square.com/BLE to learn more about whether or not your device is compatible with the new Square reader.
If you have already been using Square’s old reader for credit cards with a magnetic stripe, the device shown on the left in the photo above is no different than what you’ve been using. The device on the right, also shown below, requires you to charge it with a USB cable before using it. The cable is provided in the box. If, for some reason you encounter problems, you can visit Square’s Tips and Troubleshooting page for assistance.
The contactless and chip card reader is easy to use, as illustrated in Square’s video below.
I’m looking forward to trying out the new reader, but probably will not have a chance to do so until the fourth quarter of 2016, when I typically sell at craft shows. This also means that I won’t be able to take advantage of Square’s offer to cover transaction fees for the first three months after the device was shipped. Instead, I’ll simply take the cost of the device as a business expense.
You may be using another credit card reader, such as the one offered by PayPal or by Etsy. I can’t speak about the PayPal reader, as I haven’t used it, but I have successfully used the Etsy one, used in conjunction with the Sell on Etsy app. Etsy’s reader is for swiped cards only—for cards, in other words, with a magnetic stripe on the back side. You can, however, enter a credit card number manually into the Sell on Etsy app to accept payment. To Etsy’s credit, it has said, “Etsy will absorb the liability for credit card losses (including chargebacks) when we find that they resulted from third-party fraud.” Hopefully the site will come out with its own contactless and chip card reader, but to date I have not heard any news about such a plan.
If you have used Square’s new credit card reader, I’d be interested to hear about your experiences, good or bad.
© 2016 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.