Upon completing a transaction during my recent visit to the Apple store, a sales person pulled up a handheld device from below the table, swiped my cards, and the payment was complete. No sales desk, no problem, pay wherever you are. This is the idea behind Intuit’s GoPayment and Square. If you run a store and want to copy the idea, or your business simply requires collecting payments away from the office, processing transactions is easier than ever.
To get started, you will need a smart phone (both products work on majority of iPhones and Android devices) on which you have to download a free app and a card reader. The app allows you to process payments by imputing the card information manually, but if you choose to swipe the card, you do it with a small card reader that attaches to your phone (also free with both services).
Intuit GoPayment offers you two options of the credit card processing service: Pay-as-you-Go or High-Volume. You have to do the math to decide which service makes more economic sense to you, but the main difference is in the fees charged by Intuit for processing a payment. In Pay-as-you-Go option a monthly fee is waived vs. $12.95 for High-Volume option. Swipe rates are 2.7% vs 1.7% and Keyed Rates are 3.7% vs. 2.7% respectively for both services. There are no transaction fees, and a setup required is fast and effortless. Square provides somewhat limited options as compared to GoPayment. It charges 2.75% per swipe, and 3.5% plus 15c per transaction for the transactions entered manually. It doesn’t offer lower fees for processing higher volume of transactions.
Besides accepting payments, Square also works as your wallet. You can associate one or more credit or debit cards with your phone, set up a pin number and Square app will help you find vendors who accept this form of payment. You can see where the merchants are located and even browse their menus. You establish a “tab” with a merchant and assign a name to it. When you visit the merchant, just say, “Put it on (your name here)” without even taking the phone out. The card you choose to pay with is debited and you can review your transactions at the end of the day. If you turn on “Always Auto Open Tab” option, Square goes as far as letting the cashiers know that you’ve arrived.
Square also claims it can help you grow your business but the tools it offers today are far too few and too rudimentary. It gives you tools to beef up the menus you currently use and if you use an iPad as your check out screen, it allows you to add pictures to each item, name products, and display prices. Not exactly the cutting edge of technology or business practice, but rather a neat way to present a product. You can also customize the receipts and offer a hard copy, email it, or send it by a text message. You can also connect your iPad to a receipt printer or a cash drawer and accept cash payments. It facilitates tip calculation by adding gratuity button, and has ability to create reports on sales, tips, and inventory.
Processing more transactions in public, especially using a phone, naturally raises security concerns. Square prides itself in highest security standard using 128 bits for symmetric cryptographic keys and 2048 bits for asymmetric keys.
In Mobile Credit Card Processing category neither product is a top 3 choice on TopTenReviews.com, with Intuit GoPayment coming in at No. 5 and Square at No. 7. The two score 3.5 out of 4.0 (just like the top 4 services), which gives them a Very Good score. The biggest attribute of GoPayment is that it can be used most of the phones connected to the Internet and it very easy to use. Some of the shortcomings are inability to accept tips or manage cash transactions. Square on the other hand is secure, easy to use, and presents relatively decent pricing options. On the negative, it’s limited to the number of phones it can be used on.
On the surface Intuit GoPayment offers less features comparing to Square but the additional features on Square don’t exactly make the process of accepting payments more secure, cheaper, or complete. Perhaps those features appeal to you and that would make Square most definitely more valuable that Intuit. On the flip side, if you are only interested in this product for the sole purpose of accepting payments with a handheld device, Intuit might be a better choice.