Payments company Square is working with Derek Thomas MP and local business leaders in St Ives to help more local businesses accept card payments this summer.

Photograph: Blake Wisz/Unsplash

The partnership, officially launched this week, will allow local businesses to get started with Square for free, with a complementary Square Reader and fee-free payment processing. Businesses can also choose to sell online with a free Square online store to reach more customers.

Across the south west, small businesses make up 80% of employers and many are cash-only or cash-heavy businesses. Between June and September each year, Cornwall typically takes in more than half (55%) of the £2 billion that is spent annually by tourists in the UK, says Square. The impact of Covid-19 means fewer people are paying with cash, so many businesses could benefit from modern technology to help them sell anywhere and safely. 

Derek Thomas said: “Supporting local businesses is a priority because they are the commercial lifeblood of Cornwall. I’m delighted to partner with Square to give business owners access to modern technology to help them manage their business and sell.

“I encourage local businesses to sign up so they accept all the ways customers and tourists want to pay, and boost business this summer.” 

The initiative has been especially created to provide local businesses with an affordable and easy way to take card payments. By signing up, small businesses, including sole traders, will now be able be able to do the following (terms and conditions apply):

  • Receive a free Square Reader (valued at £19 ex VAT) and enjoy fee-free processing on the first £1,000 of sales
  • Accept contactless, Chip & PIN, Android Pay and Apple Pay payments
  • Build a free, professional website using Square Online Store
  • Get paid fast: the next business day as standard. 

Helen Prowse, from Square UK, said: “If you’re a small business owner, making sure you can accept card payments is one thing you can do to make every sale this summer.

“We’re working hard to support your return to business, whether it’s through taking cards for the first time, trading at a new pop-up location, or selling online.” 

Local businesses will also be able to access a free three-month Skillshare membership, allowing them to participate in thousands of classes taught by industry icons and experts in sales and marketing, leadership and management, and business operations.

Businesses can sign up at