Small Fees Add Up Considerably for Square

October 16, 2019

Merchants who use the services of credit card processing giant Square, which was founded by a former PayPal executive, can no longer count on flat rates for payment transactions. According to a news report recently published by Bloomberg, Square has rolled out a new fee structure that no longer sticks to the 2.75% in-store transaction charges that the company had in place for years. The fee has been reduced to 2.6%;‌ however, there is now an additional charge of $0.10 per transaction, when the payment amount is $65 and under.

When Will the Change Take Place?

New Square users will be subject to the new pricing structure right away while existing merchants can expect to see the change in early November. In a blog post published by Square in October, the company explained that the new fee schedule corresponds to an effort to align with competitors in terms of transaction costs.

Industry analysts believe that Square is starting to feel the impact of operating costs related to acquiring new merchants, particularly those that have a higher volume of micro transactions. Square is doing business in a sector that sees retailers spending $108 billion every year to accept electronic payments, and the methods the company has widely utilized to sign up new clients include innovative card readers, terminals, mobile apps, and simplified point-of-sale systems;‌ these value-added services, which are heavily geared towards micro companies such as hot dog carts, translate into high operating costs. The $0.10 fee is intended to offset some of these costs, which can hurt a small businesses’ overhead.

Why the Increase?

When compared to other merchant processing companies, the new fee schedule posted by Square is typical; nonetheless, this is a company that has a disproportionate number of users for whom low-ticket transactions are their bread and butter, and they are the ones who are more likely to complain about being charged an extra $0.10. To a certain extent, Square risks losing clients such as the aforementioned hot dog cart operators, coffee shops, and convenience stores, but average retail transactions are estimated to be between $30 and $35. If anything, Square is attempting to gain more new clients, which could be at the expense of their current ones.

According to WCYB, an NBC‌ News affiliate based in Tennessee, small business owners in the region are not happy with the higher fees being charged by Square. The operators of a bakery, a cafe, and a catering provider explained that they will be passing on costs to customers, and they are strongly considering shopping around for a new merchant processor that specializes in small businesses.

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