Tag Archives: credit card

Accepting Credit Cards – There’s an App for That?

Stumbled upon this interesting concept and device the other day, and have been intrigued.  Can just anyone accept a credit card payment using their iPhone and a mini-credit-card reader device plugged into the jack?

This is the scenario:  I want to buy a homecoming dress for my daughter from a local seller on Craigslist. I  don’t want to have to go get $100 in cash from the ATM, then drive to get the dress.  What if I just went to get the dress, let the seller run my check card via her iPhone or Droid, and be done with the transaction and walk away with the dress?

A similar need fueled the development of SquareUp, a San Francisco-based startup that developed not only an App for taking credit card payments via the iPhone, but the tiny “card reader” hardware device to go with it.  The result?  Anyone could potentially take a credit or debit card payment from you on the fly, as long as they had an internet connection.

Here’s how it works.  You download the Square Up App from iTunes or Android Market to your device (iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Nexus One, Droid, or Samsung Vibrant), and then fill out the application for service.  You will have to have a bank account and your social security number and mailing address will be required.  Once your application is approved, Square Up send you the tiny piece of hardware you will need to swipe cards, and you will be good to go.  As for security, the company is Verisign approved, and follows all best practices in securing transactions made on the SquareUp app, and follow all protocols set out by the PCI Security Standards Council.

I can think of a ton of uses for such a device.  As an author who sells books to individuals on demand at fairs and lectures, the ability to quickly and securely take credit cards without all the major overhead fees often encountered could be a big bonus.  One of the reasons I don’t take credit cards for books is because of the cost of overhead in doing it through traditional banks.  SquareUp is currently intended for low-level users like me, who may take occasional payments.  And, it’s just another reason I should be considering upgrading my semi-smart phone to an Android in the near future.

You can go see a promotional video for SquareUp here.!

Unscrupulous Scruples: Watch where you click.


I’ve been seeing this more and more. You have to upgrade a product – a home (free) edition or something. You press the link and it sends you to a page that talks about upgrading. In fact, everything this page screams is “We don’t have the free version, you must buy an upgrade to continue”.

But if you scan the page, you see on the bottom in small print “No thanks. Register the Free version”.

Another case in point: I was searching for Drivers for a friends computer. I got to the companies webpage and selected what I thought was the driver. Instead, it shuttled me to download a program that would then collect information on my PC and find the right drivers.

It was not malware, but more of Bloatware. And that program wasn’t afraid to do the same thing – ask to install more Bloatware.

This practice is on the verge of misleading. You have to really scan pages to make sure you are selecting the right option.

Case in point #2: There is a great website out there that helps webmasters. We won’t get into the name, because this is not a witch hunt. I will say that when you purchase something on their site, you are taken to a page that looks like you have to press an “OK” button. However, this button is not to OK the purchase, but to add additional services. By scanning down the page, you find the “No thanks – Continue” option stuffed in the bottom part of the page.

In advertising creation, you learn a little trick. When an eye hits an ad, they instinctively start in the middle and work clockwise around the ad. Therefore, you put your “Hook” in the middle and the other items on the sides, including the name of the product.

What these sites have done is made the ad, but then put the “No thanks” in a spot where upon first glance, the eye will miss.

I just bought my ticket for Blogworld / New Media Expo. I used a discount site to purchase the plane ticket and hotel. After making the initial purchase, I was inundated with options I should look at. I suppose it’s so the discount site can offer lower fares. Once again, I had to carefully scan for the “No Thanks” option, although those other buttons looked like they were part of the processing.

Recently, people have been finding extra charges on their credit cards. They went to an online shopping site and chose the great deal of the day. They then pressed a button that looked legitimate to sign up for monthly deals (or something like that). Of course, those deals came with a price.

I really think that the FTC needs to start recognizing these little nuances in websites. It would be like if you went to the grocery store and the clerk started asking “Should I also add in a gallon of milk?” even if you didn’t grab milk.

As for this upgrade – I understand you need to make money off the product, but being sneaky about doing it is only going to make me go somewhere else. Put the “No thanks” in a more visible area. The consumer will buy your product if they don’t feel they are getting swindled.