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(Pocket-lint) - If you own a small business, whether you're the only employee, or you've got a fledgling team growing day by day, you probably know that taking payments from customers can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. 

Bank transfers can be fiddly, and sticking to cheques can feel like you're living in the Victorian era while everyone else is in the future. There are ways around these issues, though, and one of the very best available is Square, a platform that makes taking payments and managing your business a total doddle. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about its amazing solutions, with answers to some common questions. 


What is Square Payments?

Square helps businesses of all sizes sell anywhere, in-person and online. You can choose how exactly you take payments, with one of many options to suit your business needs: 

- A pocket-sized card reader built to accept debit, credit and contactless payments from anywhere with the free Square Point of Sale app that also helps you run your business.
- Square Terminal - the all-in-one portable device that takes payments, prints receipts and runs a full-featured integrated POS.
- Square Stand so you can turn your iPad into the complete countertop point-of-sale kit.
- ​Square also powers secure payments even when you don’t use a reader, with Virtual Terminal for over-the-phone transactions and accepting payments through digital invoices.
- Even build a free online store with Square Online and sync your offline and online operations. 

How does Square work?

The beauty of Square from your point of view is how seamlessly everything comes together. You get both a super simple and reliable platform for customers to check out on, and great real-time sales insight through easy-to-use reporting dashboards tracking sales and inventory. 

You'll always get your funds the next business day for no charge or even in 20 minutes with just a 1% fee, and the entire process is end-to-end encrypted to make sure that both your data and that of the payer is as secure as possible in this day and age. 

Is there a monthly fee for Square?

Square switches the game up by making sure that you can get started on its platform for free, without having to commit to a monthly fee - it charges a flat rate on transactions that you'll always see in your bottom line, and is PCI compliant. It's a 1.75% rate for in-person card transactions, and a 2.5% rate for payments taken remotely like over the phone or via invoice. 

That also means you can sidestep issues around different payment cards, which are often a stumbling block for other payment platforms, which will pass on increased costs to you if a customer uses, for example, American Express. With Square you can be certain of that percentage staying the same, however they pay. 

Can I accept online payments with Square?

You absolutely can – in fact, there are multiple ways to do so, including a standard checkout procedure using Square Online. If you want to take payments online without setting up an eCommerce site , Square Online Checkout lets you create a link for customers to go directly to checkout on an item, which is perfect for selling through multiple platforms. 

Plus, Square's online payments are secure and quick, with encryption and dispute resolution services included with your Square account at no extra fee to make sure that they're smooth as can be. In fact, if you had a customer who preferred to pay by phone, Square’s Virtual Terminal is perfect for just that use. You can keep your business looking professional by sending invoices too, which come with reminders and options to customise payment schedules. Square helps businesses succeed on their own terms. 

Like all payments made with Square , the funds will come in the next business day after the transaction's made, and you can rely on that timeline. 

What do we like about Square hardware?

Square has​ ​three ​hardware options - Square Reader, Square Terminal and Square Stand. Importantly, all three let you take contactless and chip-and-pin payments as well as Google and Apple Pay. 

These devices can adapt to your methods, too. For example, Square Reader has a powerful battery that lasts all day - simply connect it via Bluetooth to your phone and take payments on the go. Square Terminal is the all-in-one payment terminal with built-in Square Point of Sale and a touch screen pin pad. It's cordless and also packed with a powerful battery so you can take payments on the go, or at your counter. 
They’re each really simple and easy to use, and affordably priced to make sure that you can get your payments up and running with the minimum in effort and cost. 

They stand as just one small part of why Square is such a great platform to use, but the real key is ease. Square simply makes things easy, and reliable, in ways that you'll come to appreciate each and every working day. You can find out more, and sign up for your free account, on Square's website today. 

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