App turns smart phone into credit card machine

The smart phone app Square turns a phone into a credit card reader, making transactions convenient

When most people visit the hair salon they catch up on gossip, but Thursday was a different case at George & Co.

Customers were hearing about a new smart phone app that turns the phone into a credit card machine.

"I didn't know about this app but I'm very excited," says customer Nancy Lorber, who also helps run a business.

After learning about it on Facebook, George & Co. Hairstylist Julie Mills is utilizing an app called Square, where the download and small phone plug-in allows her smart phone to read credit cards and take payments.

"You can sign your name on the phone, and they can have an option of emailing their receipt to them or I can text message a receipt to them or a handwritten one," says Mills.

The app is convenient for her customers, who sometimes forget their checkbooks or don't bring cash, and the store does not have its own credit card machine. Mills says oftentimes, clients need to run out quickly after a haircut to get cash.

"Everybody totes a check card or some credit card and it's convenient for them because they don't have to make an extra trip," says Mills.

After two weeks of using Square, Mills, who is the only one at the hair salon using the app at the moment, says many customers are finding it handy and also just fun.

"Some just want to run it just to see how cool it is," says Mills.

Not only is the app is convenient for customers but also for business.

Instead of renting expensive credit card machines which can cost hundreds of dollars per month and paying large fees, employers only have to pay 2.7 percent per transaction. The money from transactions also goes directly to the user's checking account.

Mills says the Square app allows her to take credit card payments on her phone when she styles weddings or does hair appointments from homes.

"It would be great for individual use, for photographers, people who do individual things that work for themselves, self employers. It's a lot easier," says Mills.

"I'm going back to the office and I'm going to research and maybe I'll be able to get rid of my machine," says Lorber.