Square Just Made Getting Paid Much Easier for Entrepreneurs

The new Square Online Checkout platform makes cashless (and contactless) payment processing as simple as sharing a link.

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If you have a social media account or even just the ability to send a text or an email, then congrats—you now can also have an e-commerce store and mobile payment solution. And did we mention your last tweet accepts Apple Pay and all major debit and credit cards?

This is the premise of Square Online Checkout, the elegantly simple new offering from the company that brought us the ubiquitous white square and transformed smartphones the world over into card readers and POS systems.

True to Square's minimalist roots, the new payment platform makes it surprisingly effortless to look professional while securely accepting payments for products and services, subscription fees, memberships, and even donations. This time there's no white square involved though, and you don't have to ring anyone up on an iPad. You simply create and share a pay link that customers click on using their own devices, taking them to a barebones checkout page hosted by Square.

The system is completely cashless and contactless—both significant assets these days. According to a study from MasterCard, about half of global users have exchanged their favorite credit card for contactless payment during the pandemic. And 74 percent of respondents intended to stay contactless post-pandemic.

Founded in 2009, Square was a perfect use case of a principle many entrepreneurs have employed successfully—reducing friction for their customer base. Getting set up to take credit card payments was a real pain at the time, and Square made it simpler, more affordable, and even fun somehow.

What is Square Online Checkout?

Square Online Checkout continues this tradition of reducing friction for users—in this case reducing it for both owners and customers alike. Their launch video shows just how simply the service has been designed, from its clean, minimal aesthetic to its really simple pay structure.

The way it all works is so straightforward that even the least technical entrepreneur should sail through it. After a set-up that literally only takes a few minutes, the service lets you accept on-line payments via shareable links and buttons. Each item you create is called a "checkout link," and these can represent a product, a service, a donation, or a subscription/membership.

The checkout links are as simple as you'd expect—primarily just a name and price, though you can add a photo in some cases. You can even allow users to create their own custom price, which is especially key for accepting donations.

It's like you're a well-designed, professional e-commerce store without an ounce of coding or investment. You don't even need a website, which probably brings a sigh of relief to many entrepreneurs.

Bottom line: The real upside of Square Online Checkout is its combination of simplicity and professionalism. You can create each checkout link in seconds, which means your focus stays on whatever entrepreneurial endeavor, small business, or side hustle you might be running.

The processing fees are also fairly competitive—2.9 percent plus a $.30 fee per transaction. While this is a slightly higher percentage than some of Square's more advanced offerings, keep in mind there are no monthly fees and you don't need a website or any special hardware or software.

There's no apps to download for you or your customers, and it really couldn't be more hassle-free for them. They can pay with their own device, they don't need to create any accounts, and they can use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or almost any other card they choose.

If you're running a pop-up store, offering freelance or consulting services, accepting donations, creating a membership service, or just want to do some rapid prototyping with a new concept—Square Online Checkout is pretty hard to beat.
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