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Monday, May 10, 2021

Some Gainesville businesses switching from traditional card readers to new, mobile payment options

<p>A Karma Cream employee swipes a credit card on an iPad card reader to complete a transaction Wednesday. Business owners cite portability and saving space as benefits to using the card readers.</p>

A Karma Cream employee swipes a credit card on an iPad card reader to complete a transaction Wednesday. Business owners cite portability and saving space as benefits to using the card readers.

With a swipe of a card and a squiggle of the finger, you can pay for that ice cream cone and have the receipt emailed to you directly.

Several local businesses have caught on to the trend of switching to card readers that plug into iPads and other smart devices.

Organic ice cream cafe Karma Cream, located at 1025 W. University Ave., is one of those businesses that made the switch. Co-owner Kyle Fick said he changed to an iPad register from traditional payment processing services to save money and space.

“Instead of having a big, clunky cash register, I just have a little iPad, and it’s wireless,” Fick said. “I need all the space I can get.”

The application he uses is Square Register, which is one of the most well-known, nontraditional card reader services that started in 2009. In most cases, businesses pay about 3 percent on every swiped card purchase, according to the Square, Inc. website.

“It gives you more time and money to do other things, like focus on your business,” Fick said.

For Victoria Warfel, co-owner of Dream Dogz Training Center, convenience was the most important thing when deciding to use Square’s services.

“In my business it has to be portable,” Warfel said. “If I’m at an in-home training, I don’t have to say, ‘Oh, I can’t run your card until I get back to the training center.’ I’m not dealing with that.”

After having used services like Google Checkout and PayPal, she said clients were more open to using Square because it was simple.

“It’s 2013, and we need to keep up with the times,” Warfel said. “People know that they’re getting something up to date, and I have their trust that I am up to date in other things, too.”

It’s not just small businesses that see the benefit behind the card reader services.

Starbucks Corp. has partnered with Square to aid small-business growth. Starbucks gave the company $25 million dollars and now uses Square’s payment processing and sells the readers in 7,000 of its stores, according to a Starbucks press release.

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About two-thirds of U.S. small businesses don’t take credit or debit cards, according to the release.

The question now is whether consumers are buying into the idea.

Sarkara Sweets Cafe cashier Hannah Salter, 18, said her first experience with the technology was when she was a customer before she started working for the bakery.

“I like using them a lot,” Salter said. “They are very straightforward.”

However, when she did use one for the first time, she said she wasn’t that surprised with the technology and thought they seemed common even though they weren’t.

Karma Cream customer Mitch Murray agreed.

“It was so unimpressive, even though it was new,” said the 24-year-old UF English graduate student.“I guess that’s the direction of technology.”

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 8/23/2013 under the headline "Check it out: Smart devices aiding local small businesses"

A Karma Cream employee swipes a credit card on an iPad card reader to complete a transaction Wednesday. Business owners cite portability and saving space as benefits to using the card readers.

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