Square reader for buskers

Has anyone had any experience with using a Square reader for taking cashless donations when busking?

I was thinking you could have this device next to you and your phone facing the public with a $2 amount pre-set, ready to go. Then someone can tap their card and see it processed and know the amount. The only drawback is after a donation, you need to reset the amount again.

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I’ve not been busking, but have a question for you: How do you think it would be received by the audience, to use their card rather than cash?


I’m not sure. But the problem for buskers these days is that no-one carries loose change any more. I would normally throw a few coins to a busker, but I rarely have any cash on me.

Would you feel OK with tapping your card onto a reader (if you could see the amount clearly displayed), or is that just too risky? It could also be used for selling CDs.

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We trust shops readers to display the correct amount as we know where they are. Could we trust a buskers reader in the same way?

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Yes, I think the general feeling is that people would see it as too risky.

What about Google or Apple pay? Would that be an option?

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I don’t know much about those. But I think that anything involving a number of steps (like a QR code to a donate button on a web page) would just be too much trouble for people. The nice thing about the tap card is that it is about as quick and easy as dropping in a few coins.

They both use NFC. No QR code or website required. Basically hold one device near to the other and the payment is made, with 2FA and encryption for security. I think PayPal do something similar.

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OK, thanks. Will check those out. But it does rely on the donor having Google Pay or Apple Pay on their phone. Not sure how widespread that is. Can you accept both? Or are you limited to one of the other.

Fees look OK (3%). Paypal is out because they charge 3% + 30c per transaction. No good for small amounts.

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I think it’s possibly a generational thing. I’ve never used it but my son uses it a lot to pay for taxis or food or whatever. In that sense, it is quite widely used and is likely to become even more so.

You can use either Google Pay or Apple Pay wherever you see this logo:


And that’s about as much as I know.

Anyway, it was just a thought.

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Thanks, I’ll look into it.

Stripe supports Google/Apple Pay:

They even have a first-party terminal now (no idea how much it costs though):


Actually Square Reader also accepts Apple Pay and Google Pay. It also looks like it has the lowest fees. It’s only $59 so might be worth trying it as an experiment.


In the UK this is a very normal way for buskers for a couple of years. I’m actually on this forum to see how to set it up so that you have a set amount that and everytime someone taps it charges.
I’ve seen a few buskers do this with a sign saying tap to give £5

Cant find how to do that on sqUare.

I was at Tim Hortons in Canada getting some coffee, and I noticed this tip jar with $2 tap pay. It’s not Square, but might be something worth looking into. Thought I share.