Take Credit Card Payments With Your Phone

Last week, my Social Media for Lawyers co-author Niki Black and I discovered Square, a neat app that essentially converts an iphone or other smart phone into a cash register, allowing users to accept credit card payments, and email receipts for both cash and credit card transactions. The app can be linked to a user’s bank account, so that credit card funds are deposited directly. Of course, there’s a processing charge: a flat 15 cents plus 2.75% if you use Square’s credit card portable swiper, 15 cents plus 3.5% if you key in the credit card number. And while the fee may be high, it’s worth the price to capture a sale that might otherwise be lost.

It also occurred to me that Square provides yet another option for lawyers to accept credit card payments. Square could be set up so that fees are deposited directly into your trust account, though you’d need to include extra funds in your trust account to cover the transaction fees, assuming that this practice is lawful in your jurisdiction. (As an aside, I predict that bars will have no choice but to lighten up rules on credit card payments to make it easier for lawyers to avail themselves of providers like PayPal or Square, instead of having to set up a merchant account or use a lawyer-specific credit card processing company. While these options do have some advantages, lawyers who take credit cards for retainers only occasionally shouldn’t have to pay out huge fees for that privilege).

Have you checked out Square? What do you think?