If you’ve ever been to an independent shop or ordered from a food truck, then you’ve probably seen those white square card readers attached to phones and iPads. That’s Square, a start-up company that lets anyone accepts credit card payments with a simple swipe. With a smartphone and a $10 reader, anyone can accept payments and run a business. Storefronts and POS system are no longer required.

How did Square start?

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, saw a need for mobile transactions and wanted to do something about it. In the past, merchants had to apply for the ability to accept credit card payments, resulting in many of those “cash only” signs seen in mom and pop restaurants. It was a hassle, and Dorsey recognized how much more money these businesses could be bringing in if they could easily accept a card payment.

How can you use Square to start your business?

Getting started with Square is simple. Square works with most Apple and Android devices; it requires you to download its software to your device, plug in the card reader to your headphone jack, and you’re ready to accept payments! No long applications, credit checks, or sign-up fees. Plus, the reader only costs $9.99, but Square gives you a $10 credit with each purchase – making it basically free.

Square is also transparent in its fees: Square charges a flat fee of 2.75% per swiped transaction and 3.5% + $0.15 for manual transactions (when you can’t seem to get the reader to take an old, damaged card). The transparency of fees, the lack of a monthly membership fee, and the ease in which you can sign up makes Square super attractive for startups.

Why use Square over other card readers?

It’s true that Square isn’t the only card reading service out there. There’s plenty of healthy competition, and if you’re a business owner currently using Square, it’s likely you’ve received a call from someone claiming their reader is “better and cheaper than Square.”

But Square can do so much more than other readers. Beyond its usability, Square’s software provides in-depth analytics and reports about your business – no need for an accountant. You can view sales by hour, see trends of growth, and take inventory on what’s selling. Square’s website also offers a ton of additional features, such as knowing exactly when a transaction’s been approved or declined or creating detailed, printable sales reports.

And there’s more: Square is trying to revolutionize the payment process. Apple Pay is already one-way customers can make payments without bringing any cards, but Square wants to take this one step further. Square ultimately wants to be able to recognize when your smartphone is nearby one of their receivers, so all a customer has to do is give is their name to the cashier, and you’ve paid. Think of it as having a tab open at all of your favourite places, and you never have to close it.  Square is predicting that in a little over a year, a majority of retailers in the US will switch over to using iPads and Square instead of traditional cash registers. Join the revolution and let Square make business easy for you.