Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lookit Me In the 21st Century!

With the filthy lucre (is there any other kind of lucre? I wonder) from December sales, I bought myself a used iThing - an iPod Touch. I spent $100 for this iThing, which turns out to be more than I had to; it has more gigabytes or whatever than I actually need. (Am I gonna buy 8000 songs? Probably not.) I'm sort of glad I did this before I knew my car was going to shit the bed (as we say in Maine) because I certainly would not have, had I known. I've been meaning to get one for awhile, though, in order to use The Square credit card reader.

I'm certain 98% of you are already using the Square, or some similar device. For those of you who aren't, you should: the percentage taken - 2.75% - is less than most credit card processing systems, and it's so easy even I got it set up without a single curse word.

That is more than I can say for the iThing itself, which has been a fertile source of iFrustration and iAggravation. If you've not yet bought your device, let me warn you: many of the most commonly used apps will no longer download if you're using an operating system lower than ios 7. My device runs ios 6.1.6.   While I am able to use The Square and Pandora, which were the primary reasons I got the dang thing, many other apps which one takes for granted an iThing will do - Facebook, for example, and Pinterest - NOPE, sorry, povs, shoulda bought new! In truth, if I were in a position to buy a new one, I'd go with an Android device - I no longer trust Apple not to pull functionality out from under me, because of this issue. I'd be really ticked off if I bought this new just a couple of years ago and suddenly it won't do the things it's meant to do.

Like I said: iAggravating.

I've also been unable to persuade it to connect with my email, which probably has something to do with POP or SMTP or IMAP or some other acronym. None of these are critical failures, just annoying. There is never anything in my email that I need right this instant. Actually, maybe it's a feature! Like not getting calls. If I can't get my email I can't be distracted by it.

Previously I was using Paypal's Virtual Terminal, which cost $30 for each month of use, plus 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction. I typically only had one event at which to use it in a given month, so after three events, the iThing will have paid for itself.  It automatically deposits the day's receipts into the bank account associated with your Square, which you set up ahead of time, no waiting 3-4 days for the transfer, as with Paypal. I also have the option of creating a Square Store which I can embed into my own website. I am of two minds about this though: purchasing online is an act of faith. Your money is out the door, who knows where, and then you just wait for the invisible stranger on the other end of the transaction to make good. If they don't - if they just vanish in to the ether - good luck getting your cash back. Trust is crucial. People know and trust Paypal - or at least, as many as trust any online transaction at all. Will they trust the lesser-known Square? Hard to say.

All that will have to wait until I have some inventory to sell, however! With that goal in mind, I'm off to the studio. I got my car back (ouch, but could have been worse) and with it the clay I was transporting. Time to make pots to pay for all these expenditures!

Update: I figured out how to Instagram! You can follow me here.
My 1st (ok, 2nd) iThing photo. So misty and romantic!Or blurry.


Linda Starr said...

I have been wanting to get a square and thought I would this year; I have a smart phone; is that the same as a touch screen, probably not, perhaps I need one of those pods and how much do they cost per month.

wish I could take a class on all this new stuff to learn what I need and the best route to proceed with the least cost.

Barbara Rogers said...

I got a square last year, used it with good results, and we had some sales which we would have lost if we couldn't have taken plastic. It worked fine for a few months, then the little device itself went bad and wouldn't read any cards. Fortunately other MudBuddies also had Squares, and we could share sales that way. The turnaround time is 3 days still before the money shows up in my bank. But it is much nicer to have some money than the goose egg of people who don't carry cash. (I have an iPhone 4 to use it on, but others have other smart phones they use)

Lori Watts said...

Pretty sure a Smartphone would work. The iPod cost nothing per month, that's why I wanted it. It does need wifi or a portable hotspot though.

Chris said...

You can use the most economical GoPhone (prepaid minutes or otherwise)that ATT sells with Square. The device itself costs $59. No need to buy an expensive anything.

Lori Watts said...

I've tried those pre-pay phones before. You don't sign contract, but you do have to pay $50 for each month you want to use the phone, and the minutes don't stay bought: if you don't use them within a certain time frame they go away.

Michèle Hastings said...

I dumped my merchant account for square this fall. I didn't have a smart phone until last spring... never felt I could afford one. Thanks to Republic Wireless I now can. Yes, you have to buy the phone up front, and it's not subsidized by signing a contract and there are only a couple of choices - but you decide what plan you want and can switch 2x a month and they will prorate. My partner and I switch between the $10/mo plan and $25/mo plan all the time.
Linda - you can check on the square site to see if your phone is compatible.
Barbara - I have 3 back up square devices, because they do sometimes quit.

Anonymous said...

Square is actually pretty common these days - my local pottery studio uses it!

Lori Watts said...

Yes, I know - as I said, probably 98% of the people reading this post already use it.