I had my first experience with Square last night.
No, not the shape, I think it's safe to say I've been comfortable with squares ever since they passed me through nursery school. It's also not a new trendy bar where all the glasses/chairs/menu items are squares and there's a whole irony thing about being in a cool place named 'Square' (note to self: file that under foolproof business ideas for later)
I was referring to the mobile payment system designed and built around processing credit card payments via smartphone.
I was making the weekly run from O'Hare to downtown Chicago, and had already recovered from the absurd cab line and stop and go traffic this city has to offer. As we arrived at my destination, I went on full auto pilot for the payment, starting to push the buttons for credit card on the little terminal in the backseat.
I've gotten used to ignoring most cab drivers when I reach for the credit card, because 90% of the time they're trying to explain why their machine is broken or why they'd prefer to take me to a cash machine or some other elaborate reasoning not to use plastic.
Because of that, I didn't notice initially when the cab driver started waving his iPhone at me.
It took me a second to realize what the heck he was up to. But then I noticed the little white dongle (I believe that's an official term), plugged into the phone.
It was a Square card swiper, and although I had read all about them, I had never actually gotten to use one before.
It was surprisingly simple. I ran my card through the little dongle, and then (the one weird part), signed my name on the phone with my finger. That would probably be a little weird for most people, but I was helped by the fact that my signature is a mess anyway. Using one finger instead of all five and a pen wasn't that much of a quality drop-off.
It was pretty seamless, and then I got to decide whether I wanted my receipt as a text or via email. Either way, I wondered if this guy was going to end up with a record of my phone number/email address somewhere. I also wondered what the heck I would do with a text message receipt. Not sure how I'd send that in to the people in our expense department, so I opted for the email.
As long as our expense department doesn't look at the receipt and assumed I'm making it up, I'll officially be on board with this Square thing. Especially if it means more cab drivers will start asking me to swipe a credit card instead of pretending it's not an option