This Company has Literally Saved my Life

square headerFor any of you who know me I am NOT pro corporation in any way shape or form. I realize we need stores to buy stuff but capitalism has become an unfair playing field due to some receiving large tax benefits, breaks and handouts and some not. But when a company does something really well I believe they deserve mention and that company is Square.

graham family small 450 wideI operate a small business in an attempt to spend as much time home as possible with our children. My wife Anne works as a child psychologist and I own a small store providing odd items to those trying to live off the land.

But operating any type of  business is difficult without the ability to accept credit cards.

Getting a merchant account (what you need to process credit card payments) is intimidating, expensive with large monthly fees (up to $100 per month) and only available to those with the best of credit scores.

But what about the homesteader who wants to sell their produce, or grass fed beef or home grown eggs. Is is worth paying up to $100 a month (even if you don’t use it) just for the privilege of accepting credit cards? Not really.

Thankfully with Square you can now accept credit cards to sell anything from handmade crafts, to honey, to homegrown eggs and chickens and anything else you can imagine with no setup fees and no monthly minimums.

For the past couple of decades we have had PayPal which is a pain to setup, your customer must have a PayPal account and you can wait up to a week to get your money once your account balance is high enough ($100 in Canada). It is just not practical for selling a dozen organic eggs.

Square enters the picture. It is easy to setup, costs nothing if you do not use it and does not do intrusive credit checks.  They even provide a free card swiper and deposit any transactions into your bank account the next day. Square has changed my life and given me hope.

I’ll give you a quick run down of the last few years of my life to show you how Square has changed my life.

After working for a small water turbine manufacturer from 2002-2007 I decided it was time to go it alone and start my own company.

Renewable Energy New Brunswick LogoI had already been operating a small company called Renewable Energy New Brunswick part-time and it was now time I went full time. In order to operate a full fledged solar store I needed to take credit cards as a form of payment. Little did I know how expensive it was and what perfect credit you needed to even get a merchant account. In the end I settled with Paymentech for a fee of over $60 per month (whether I used it or not) and an undisclosed percentage of every sale, depending on what type of card was used, how large the transaction was and even the weather (I think?).

From 2007-2012 I processed a little over 2 million dollars in credit card sales with only two chargebacks (one fellow in Germany said he did not get his small package and another fellow from Texas was angry about the customs charges the USA charged him for importing a solar module).

However by this time I had become quite ill from a chronic illness and got behind on a few loan payments. Paymentech learned of this and without notice terminated my merchant account. Now I was sick and had no way of accepting payments. My livelihood was gone. That was the last straw for Renewable Energy New Brunswick and forced me into bankruptcy after selling everything I owned to try and  keep my creditors happy.

There I was… sick, a little depressed and no method of collecting payments and no means of providing for my family.

Then one day I see an advertisement for Square. Inexpensive payment processing, no monthly fees and good credit scores not required.

I filled out a short information form and requested my FREE credit card reader and was immediately approved.

free square credit card reader

Did I mention it was free?

About a week later my Square credit card reader arrived and I was back in business baby!

And if you end up opening your own account by clicking my Square links or here you will get your first $1000 of credit card processing free.

If you live in Canada, Square works with Canadian-issued and most non-Canadian issued credit cards with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or JCB logo only at this time.

If you live in the USA, Square works with pretty much any credit card known to man and they even have a chip reader and contactless capability. All for no initial fees and no monthly fees.

Square Pricing:

square pricing for swiped cards

square pricing for manually entered cards


Merchants are automatically enrolled in standard pricing upon signup.

2.75% for swiped transactions
3.5% + 15 cents for manually-entered transactions

The higher fee for manually entered transactions is due to the greater risk involved with these payments, as the card and buyer do not have to be present for this type of payment to occur.

Every credit card accepted has the same rate, and fees are taken out of the total amount of each transaction, including tax and tip.

Pricing Plan Example

The table below offers an example breakdown of Square’s simple pricing:

Payment Type Price
Swiped credit cards 2.75%
Paid Square Invoices 2.75%
Prepaid gift cards 2.75%
Keyed-in cards 3.5% + 15 cents
E-Commerce Integrations 2.9% + 30 cents

There are no charges for the following:

  • Activation
  • Early termination
  • Interchange
  • Chargebacks
  • Monthly Fees
  • Refunds
  • Inactivity

With Square in Canada, you can accept chip cards with the current magstripe reader. Because there’s no place to read a chip or enter a PIN, chip cards are run just like credit cards – using the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.

You may also manually key in the card number.

Whether you sell handmade crafts at the local craft fair, run a coffee shop, have a book store or just want to sell a few things once in a while Square is the answer you have been looking for.

More info for those of you who live in Canada:

You may have heard that Square has introduced the Square chip card reader and the Square contactless chip card reader in the United States. Below are a few answers to questions you may have:

Will I be able to use the Square chip card and the Square contactless and chip card reader in Canada? 
Not at the moment. The readers are currently only available to customers in the U.S.

If I buy one of these readers, and bring it back to Canada, will it work?
It won’t. Both the reader for chip cards or the reader for contactless and chip cards won’t process payments in Canada.

When will these readers be available in Canada?
We don’t have a specific timeline, but we’re looking in to it. We appreciate your patience and we’ll be sure let you know of any updates!

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