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Small Square Leads To Big Savings

September 14, 2012, 10:04 PM by Kellee Azar

Small Square Leads To Big Savings
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Technology is taking over and not only changing the way people communicate -- but the way they do business.

Now some businesses are turning to Apps and iPads to cash out their customers.  And it’s taking some people by surprise.

There are more than menus and prices inside Oh My Cupcakes in Sioux Falls; customers will also find a square.

The bakery is the first business in the city to sign up to use the Square Mobile Register System.  Owner Melissa Johnson says it's a technological upgrade that just made sense for her growing small business.

"Well we had been looking at different restaurant point-of-sale systems and obviously they are very costly and it's quite an investment. We were still on an old cash register system we really wanted to upgrade and come into the 21st century," Oh My Cupcakes owner Melissa Johnson said.

Square is named after its shape, a small, one-inch cube that can take payments with any smart phone or by credit card. A tiny device Johnson says is adding up to big savings.

“It can make a difference of hundreds of dollars per month. We launched July 9; it was fairly easy to set up. We've worked through a few bugs and a few tricks that we needed work through for our particular business but we love it" Johnson said.

Normally a small business can pay credit card swipe fees somewhere between 3 and 5 percent per transaction. But with square it's only 2.75 percent per swipe or a flat monthly fee.

"They also just came out with some new pricing that is $275 per month up to a limit of $250,000 per year. So, I really think that they are trying to be competitive and get a lot of new business," Johnson said.

Paul Ten Haken President of Click Rain marketing keeps a close eye on new technology. He says Square can help businesses boom by taking credit card payments without having a special merchant account.

"There is a lot of hassle, perceived with setting up a credit card account system.  But with square you can literally be set up in minutes and taking credit cards, so.  Also the fee structure that square offers is a lot more affordable and less intimidating for a small business that doesn't have the volume of $100,000 of transactions a month," Ten Haken said.

Ten Haken says it's going to take some time for mobile payments such as Square to be used everywhere, mostly because few businesses know it's an option.

"I think when people start seeing that square logo on doors and merchant signs knowing they can pay with Square I think it's going to make the consumer say, 'hey what is this?' and do some self-research and realize how slick it really is," Ten Haken said.

Johnson says technology is as much a part of her business as delicious cupcake batter. The small business even uses an iPad for its cash register, allowing her to take transactions from anywhere.

"So many times people go, 'really, it’s just an iPad?' They think it's really neat, they just sign with their finger; it's simple and easy," Johnson said.

It's simple, easy and comes with the magic words "free for customers.”

"The square reader is free.  The app is free.  The only thing you are paying is to process and that is what you are paying to a processor each month," Johnson said.

And she's happy to be leading this new wave of technology here in Sioux Falls.

"Oh definitely; I have noticed there are very few people in Sioux Falls doing this right now but I think its technology that will expand like crazy over the next few years," Johnson said.

Of course customers can still pay with cash. Oh My Cupcakes even accepts American Express now, which it couldn't before because of the cost.

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