High streets across the West Midlands could be given a boost if more local businesses accepted card payments, according to a new study released by Square today (04/09). When surveyed, 63% of people in the West Midlands would be more likely to shop locally if they could pay by card.

Cash was the preferred payment method for only 27% of customers in the West Midlands and almost two thirds are ‘card-first,’ preferring to pay by card when buying products and services. On average, 41% of people in the region carry less than £10 in their wallets and 1 in 3 surveyed admitted to not having visited a cash point at all in the last week.

Despite this, more than half of small business owners in the West Midlands do not believe that they are missing out on sales by not accepting card payments.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and Co-founder of Square, said: “Businesses of all sizes should have access to technology that can help them succeed – starting with an affordable, quick and easy way to accept any way their customers want to pay. We are already working with some extraordinary independent businesses in the West Midlands and we’re excited to bring our technology to more people across the region.”

Pop up shop

The study was commissioned to mark the opening of Square’s pop-up shop in Great Western Arcade, the first of its kind in the UK. The Square pop-up will be open from today until 16 September in Unit 6 of the Great Western Arcade (between Colmore Row and Temple Row). It follows in the footsteps of Square’s first physical store in New York, which opened last month.

The pop-up will offer a selection of products from local businesses across the West Midlands region, and representatives from Square will be there to answer questions about products and services. In addition, Square will host a series of free events and masterclasses for local business owners at the pop-up:

  • Thursday 7th September at 18.30: Lifestyle blogger and salon owner Ree Ree Rockette will share tips on the importance of social media for small businesses and how to build an online following.
  • Sunday 10th September at 14.00: Local creative community Badego will be host a meet up and record a podcast episode featuring businesses who have grown thanks to technology like Square.
  • Monday 11th September at 18.30: Chef and best-selling food writer Gizzi Erskine will share what she learned from building her food business.
  • Thursday 14th September at 18.30: Birmingham Brewery Company’s Paul Hardwood will talk about the challenges and joys of giving up your job to follow your dream – in his case to launch a ‘Brummie Beer’ range – a tasting of which will be held after his talk

Square’s pop-up shop will be open from 4th – 16th September from 09:00 – 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 11:00 – 17:00 on Sundays.

Sarah Harvey, UK Lead for Square, said: “At Square, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to start, run and grow their business. The West Midlands has a rich culture of entrepreneurship, both past and present, and we look forward to working hand-in-hand with small business owners across the region to help their businesses to thrive for many years to come.”

Dan Alcorn from Birmingham’s creative community Badego said: “New technologies like Square have enabled creative folk to become masters of their own destiny. The ability to set up a small stall or pop-up shop, combined with the power of the internet, gives us all an opportunity to turn passion projects into new careers and ventures.”

Getting started with Square

With Square, businesses can take card payments with no monthly contracts or hidden fees, and get their money the next business day. It takes minutes to get started, and sellers can quickly and securely begin accepting chip & PIN and contactless payments from Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Sellers using Square pay a competitive, transparent fee of 1.75% for payments made in person and 2.5% for all other transactions such as telephone orders, online payments and electronic invoices.

Square’s card reader costs £39 +VAT, but to celebrate Square’s first UK pop up shop, local business owners can get a free Square Reader if they visit the pop up shop and sign up for Square in September.*** The card reader pairs with the free Square Point of Sale software, which includes tools such as real-time sales data and invoicing, all in a single app.

Square was founded in the U.S. in 2009, and launched in the UK in March 2017. For more information please visit www.square.com/westmidlands

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