Square-Ing Up

By Cash, Martin | Winnipeg Free Press, May 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

Square-Ing Up


Cash, Martin, Winnipeg Free Press


Credit-card reader plugs into any smartphone and turns data into dollars

The day before his St. James Street Visions store started carrying the Square credit-card reader, manager Kelly Armstrong had occasion to pay a photographer using the simple device.

"She pulled it out, put it in her iPhone (and) swiped my card through. It took payment right then and there, I got email notification instantly on my phone," Armstrong said.

"It was very simple and painless."

Recently, Visions and Shoppers Drug Mart started carrying the small square device that attaches to the audio jack of any smartphone or iPad and seamlessly accepts credit-card payments. The $10 device -- Square deposits $10 back into your account after your first transaction, so the price is fully rebated -- has been available in other Canadian retailers for a year.

The increased presence of the clever device is part of the strategy to increase its availability.

Winnipeg custom-made men's wear operation, Eph Apparel, is one of Square's star merchants. The young company runs all its sales through Square's platform, including a storefront operation on Garry Street, and has more than a dozen salespeople on the road across the country.

Alex Ethans, one of Eph Apparel's three partners, said the cool, hip vibe of the system suits his business, but more than that there are a suite of analytic tools that adds value to the management of its operations.

"We can log onto the Square.ca website and see who is doing what each night and how money is coming in from every city," he said.

"It's great to get monthly reviews to see what we have done and where we did the best. It tracks everything nicely."

Square is a fairly new company and its service offering is growing. This year, it expanded the number of credit cards the system accepts to include Diners Club and Discover cards as well as Visa, MasterCard and American Express. …

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