Hands On: Square Contactless Reader

Letting anyone accept Apple Pay, Android Pay and credit cards on-the-spot, Square’s tiny contactless reader puts a pop-up store in your pocket. So how does it stack up against other POS solutions? We tested the pint-sized device to find out.

Despite what people say, there’s no shame in being a cash-only small/micro business if your regular customers are happy with that arrangement. You shouldn’t need to pay for merchant facilities at your shop or market stall just because hipsters think they’re too cool to carry cash.

That said, there might come a day when you realise that your cash-only policy is actually costing you money, especially if you’re in a touristy area. That’s when Square’s tiny contactless reader can save the day without costing you a packet.

This palm-sized reader costs $59 with no monthly fees, instead you pay 1.9 per cent of each transaction with a $1 minimum purchase and the option of adding GST. You can also use Square to send invoices, with Square taking a 2.2 per cent slice of the action.

All this means that if you only use the Square reader to accept payments occasionally then it’s not sitting in the drawer costing you money. That makes it a great fit for everyday people who run micro-businesses, from market stalls to pet walking. If you’d be using it regularly then it’s worth weighing it up against rival merchant facilities with different fee structures.

One in the hand

Square’s appeal isn’t just cost, it’s also convenience. The reader works with iOS and Android devices, connecting via Bluetooth. There’s a built-in rechargeable battery and you can sit a charge cradle alongside your checkout. Square even throws in a sticker, letting customers know that you accept card and smartphone payments.

Along with accepting tap n’ go payments such as Visa PayWave, Mastercard PayPass and smartphones, there’s a card slot for chip n’ PIN transactions. Square also throws in its old magswipe card reader although it’s of little use in Australia as we’re…

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