Guest post by Andy Barnett of McMillan Memorial Library
Many libraries have trouble accepting credit/debit cards for payments from patrons. They need a solution that is quick to install, easy to operate and offers low fees. Regular merchant accounts are too complicated and expensive, especially at the relatively low volume that libraries generate.
While a long term solution is being worked on, libraries have a new option—one that McMillan has implemented: Square. The hardware installs in minutes, the account setup is simple, there are minimal up-front costs, staff training is easy. It works with MasterCard, Visa and Discover credit and debit cards. Fees for a scanned card are 2.75% with no per-transaction fees. Fees for a typed-in number are 3.75% with no per transaction fees.
Square is a free card scanner that fits in an iPod Touch or smart phone jack. Square software is also free. Staff signs into the account and scans the patron’s card. Patrons sign on the screen, though that
can be optional for amounts under $25.00. Receipts can be emailed or texted if desired.
McMillan had a spare iPod Touch, which we were using for staff training and familiarity. Our Business Office had no trouble setting up the account and verifying that it deposited the funds appropriately. Charges are still rung up on our cash register and reconciled daily. Square does not interface with Koha or any library system, so it solves the problem of card acceptance, but does not address the wider topic of e-commerce. Still, it was a way for us to say yes to patrons when they wanted to use plastic.