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Hip To Be Square

As you may know, the SCLS Technology Team is working on a comprehensive e-commerce solution for our libraries, one that will incorporate our new Koha ILS, as well as other e-commerce services like print management and credit card payments.

However, many patrons would like to pay fines or give money to libraries now without having to write a check or carry cash--that is, they want to use a credit card.  Here are a couple of ways you can do that today:


Most of the buzz these days has been about the Square. Indeed, NPR featured the Square in a recent story.
Developed by one of the co-founders of Twitter, the Square allows anyone, individuals, businesses, or large organizations, to easily take credit card payments anytime, anywhere, using a smart phone (or iPad) and a special card reader provided free from Square. The associated fees are pretty much in line wth other credit card agreements, and as you can see from one the promotional videos, it's pretty easy to use:

Square Everywhere


 But the Square is not the only product out there:

Intuit, the folks behind Quicken and Turbo Tax, have their own solution (http://payments.intuit.com/products/basic-payment-solutions/mobile-credit-card-processing.jsp)

Fees for the Intuit solution are almost identical to the Square, though the card reader is an additional charge.  However, Intuit offers a variety of card reader options, including one that can print receipts.

Since both products are pushing not only a small business solution, but one that any individual can use (and actually I have a Square for my smart phone that I plan on using for everything from Craigslist transactions to micro-loans to cashless friends), it's worth wondering how devices like this will shape all aspects of our financial lives.


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