A Square Deal on the Columbia Quad

square coffee A Square Deal on the Columbia Quad

Twitter was abuzz this week with the news that Square, the start-up service that allows anyone with an iPhone and a small white device to process credit cards, was dropping its steep transaction fees. One business that had an especially caffeinated reaction was Joe: The Art of Coffee, who tweeted that their new Columbia University location was using Square to process credit card transactions.

The store, which is accessible to the general, non-Columbia student public, is still geared towards people who pay for their lattes with an allowance.

Jonathan Rubinstein, the owner and chief barista behind the New York coffee connoisseur’s mini-chain, said that accepting credit cards was a condition of opening their sixth location at Columbia, where they started using Square just two weeks ago.

“When we first opened, we used a regular credit card machine but the fees were too high and it took too long,” said Rubinstein. 

However, even Square slows things down. “I’m happy with Square as a product, but when you are processing over 100 people an hour, every second counts,” Rubinstein said. “Square is fast, but nothing is as fast as exact change.”