New mobile device allows payment with smartphones
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 09:04
A cutting-edge method of payment is catching on in the Orlando area, particularly with organizations at UCF.
Square, a new form of mobile technology that allows you to swipe credit cards on iPhones, iPads and Androids, is being used this past semester by UCF organizations such as the men’s basketball club team, the women’s water polo team and Alpha Kappa Psi to make payments fast and easy.
Taking advantage of this new method, these organizations have used Square to split dues, split bills for hotel and gas costs during trips and collect donations for fundraising.
“It’s a great opportunity; organizations have been needing this type of technology for a long time, to quickly get paid and also just mere convenience,” said Lindsay Wiese, a communications associate at Square.
A square-shaped card reader that fits into your device’s headphone jack, the Square itself and the app required to use it are free upon registering for them on the company’s website, making them widely available. Distributing these Squares since October 2010, the San Francisco-based company has stuck to a unique system of payment for the devices: a fee of 2.75 percent per swipe.
Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity, has used Square specifically for fundraising and has found the technology very useful.
“This semester, we had some books that we were selling, a book by Jeff Lehman that was required for some of the business classes called First Job ~ First Paycheck,” said Viviana Werner, a junior marketing major and fundraising chair for Alpha Kappa Psi. “We were using the Square to sell them, and it definitely increased our sales because we were able to merge with credit instead of just taking cash.”
Santiago Ossa, a UCF senior accounting major and the president of Alpha Kappa Psi, stressed how important it is to have a payment method that accepts credit cards.
“I don’t carry cash, so the only way that I could actually purchase anything, even if I wanted to, would be if there was something that accepted credit cards and since this can go right into my phone, which I can have anywhere, I can put the little Square in my pocket,” Ossa said. “It’s made it much easier to purchase stuff.”
Ossa said that he feels that Square fits the profile for where technology is headed in the future.
“This is where we’re going: stuff that’s easy to use, accessible and, more than anything, it’s secure,” Ossa said. “I feel better paying with my credit card than I do giving somebody cash, just because I can keep track of it much easier than I would if I had my wallet and I lost it or somebody stole it.”
Square is not only a big hit with colleges in Orlando, but local businesses as well. With establishments such as Seprock’s Snow, Big Wheel Provisions, Downtown Credo Coffee and Eden’s Fresh Co. using this new payment method, Orlando has one of the highest concentrations of use in the country, with nearly 5,000 businesses using Square to take payments on their iPads and smartphones.
“We’re not sure why Orlando has one of the highest concentrations of use, but we’re thrilled to see how quickly Orlando has adopted this new technology,” Wiese said.
Wiese said that Square will continue its work with UCF and other college campuses in the future.
“Before Square, organizations struggled to accept credit card payments,” Wiese said. “The hardware was too expensive, the fees were pricey and they had to sign into complicated contracts. With Square, we remove these barriers and make it simple and convenient for anyone to accept credit card payments on their smartphone. We’ll continue to work with college campuses, as there are plenty of organizations that can benefit from Square.”
Werner and Ossa plan on continuing to use this technology for Alpha Kappa Psi fundraisers in coming semesters and may potentially start using it to collect dues for the chapter on the go.
To learn more about Square, visit www.squareup.com.