Written by Swati Mylavarapu, Square
Imagine a service that helps small businesses grow by increasing average sales and making it easier to operate. It is such a basic utility that up to 69 percent of customers actually expect to find it where they shop. And yet, it’s too complicated and expensive to use. In fact, more than 67 percent of small businesses in Canada today miss out on this service because it’s just too hard. This is the world of credit card acceptance, one that most of Canada’s 1.1 million small businesses do not partake in.
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At Square, we know this story all too well. It’s at our core. And it’s what drove us to start our business - to help other small businesses solve this very real problem. In 2009, Square was started by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and chairman of Twitter, and his longtime friend Jim McKelvey, a glass blower from St. Louis. Jim lost a sale on a glass piece because he was unable to accept credit cards, and realized it was far too difficult for a business owner to set up credit card acceptance. As they discussed the problem, Jim and Jack realized that they were talking to each other on pocket-sized computers; couldn’t these devices also process credit cards?
And so Square was created, to help individuals and businesses never miss a sale again. Our mission is simple - to make commerce easy for everyone. And our products stem from this core mission. They help businesses accept credit cards, grow sales, and offer their customers a simple and fun experience at the counter — all from a free app and card reader.
Canadian business deserve the same easy affordable tools as their US counterparts
We brought Square to Canada one year ago because we believe Canadian entrepreneurs deserve the same easy, affordable tools to help run and grow their businesses. We were founded in the US, and Canada was the first country we brought Square to next. We came here first because we are excited by Canadians’ entrepreneurial spirit, the strong economy, and a national ethos that embraces local communities. Canadians love their local businesses and the entrepreneurs who work hard to run them. So do we.
Today, Square customers include tens of thousands in Canada. And we are growing quickly - 3.5 times more new Canadian businesses are signing up for Square today than when we first arrived. Businesses from across the country are joining the movement to make it easier to accept payments. Merchants in major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, as well as those in small towns such as Apex Hill and White Horse, are powered by Square. And their enterprises span a tremendous range - from beauty and barber shops to home inspection services to independent retailers.
How a payment tool can boost business
Accepting payments no longer has to be difficult and expensive. In fact, it can be the opposite - we’re reimagining how payment acceptance can be a delightful tool that helps a merchant grow his or her business. The offer is simple and powerful. Any individual or business can sign up for Square Register to accept credit cards and run his or her business. The Square Reader and app are completely free. Getting signed up takes just a few minutes. The price is flat and transparent - 2.75 percent. Merchants only pay when they use it - no monthly fees or commitments, and they get a suite of business tools that help track sales activity and identify growth opportunities.
Business owners can run their businesses more seamlessly and focus on how to grow, rather than how to simplify their payments costs. For Winnipeg-based custom suit company EPH Apparel, Square has given them the flexibility to run and expand their rapidly-growing mobile tailoring services. EPH Apparel includes Square in their sales representative kits, giving their sales team the ability to move from city to city to take fittings and customer appointments as needed. “We like how easy to use Square is, we can take on fittings and appointments across Canada with our growing mobile rep stylist team,” explains EPH co-founder Maciek Hunek.
Entrepreneurs who once had to wait to collect fees, and rely on a risky and long invoice process, can take payment on the spot. For Michael Jones, owner of Annihilator Ltd, a pest control service in Winnipeg, using Square has enabled him to accept credit card payment at the point of service. He no longer has to wait for checks in the mail or manage large cash payments. The simplicity and ease of use of the product were also remarkable - compared to 20+ pages of forms and a longer wait just to get signed up with other payment services.
There is a movement afoot for small business in Canada, and it’s just getting started. What’s to come? Our team is constantly exploring how we can continue to make it easier than ever for businesses to get started, run and grow. We want all businesses in Canada to be able to accept credit card payments. In the coming months, Canadian businesses can expect to be able to find Square more easily in retail locations across the country. We envision merchants being able to take many types of payments. So, we’re working on expanding the number of payment types Square offers in Canada. And we aspire to help businesses grow. Merchants can anticipate new, stronger tools in Square Register that empower them to engage with their customers and better manage their sales. We’re one year in and we’re excited for what’s to come in Canada.