Announced this week on the official Square site, the mobile payments company has rolled out a new iPad application called Square Register that will allow anyone to turn the popular tablet into a fully-functioning register for point-of-sale transactions. Free to download on the App Store, the application allows a business owner to plug in Square’s small, plastic credit card reader into the 3.5mm headphones jack of the iPad and accept Visa, American Express, Discover or Mastercard credit cards at a 2.75 percent fee on all transactions. While the fee is identical to the similar application on the iPhone, the iPad app allows the business owner to setup a custom store inventory for employees to use.
Using pre-determined spots on the screen, the business owner can create touchscreen icons that include the name, price and picture of the item. Once the inventory has been created in the app, any employee can tap items on the screen to create an order. In addition, Square Register can save consumer information for repeat customers and reward loyal customers based on how much they spend or how often the customer visits the business.
Identical to the application on the iPhone, the customer only needs to sign the iPad screen with their finger in order to complete the transaction. Square Register also ties into the Square Card Case program, thus customers can simply pay with their name which is already tied to a stored credit card.
After Square Register is implemented within a business, the owner has access to daily analytics which helps determine the busiest or slowest times of the week. The owner can see how many transactions were conducted, the amount of money given to employees in tips, the total of any refunds and the exact amount of fees paid to Square in regards to all credit card transactions. Using a tagging system, the owner can also break down transactions with categories such as weekdays, specific hours in the day or a range of money in regards to the amount of each sale. These sales figures can be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis and employees can be given access to portions of the report for immediate feedback.
During the transaction, the customer can add a tip prior to signing the iPad. Tips can be predetermined in specific percentages in order to avoid having to figure it out manually. Once the transaction is complete, the customer can receive the receipt via email or text message. If a paper receipt is preferred, the business owner will need to purchase a receipt printer for approximately $200 that works with the iPad through wireless communication. The business owner can also purchase a cash drawer that works with Square Register for approximately $100. The drawer remains closed at all times unless the employee is specifically taking cash during a transaction or issuing a cash refund.
While using the Square card reader on the iPhone is vastly most cost effective than the majority of credit card reader solutions, using the iPad with Square Register isn’t as cost effective compared to other alternatives. Combining the least expensive iPad 2 with a receipt printer and cash drawer is slightly less than a point-of-sale system from HP or similar manufacturer. However, the extensive analytics package, simple interface, responsive touchscreen and ability to tie into Square’s card case system are definitely worthwhile features for anyone starting up a small business or looking for a new way to process sales. In addition, the iPad can obviously be utilized for information or entertainment purposes when the business isn’t open.