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Square Promotes Painless Payments

May 23rd, 2011 by Ryan Ozawa · 3 Comments · Gadgets, Technology, Video

Square is a startup that hopes to do nothing less than transform the way people pay for goods and services. The company was started by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (who recently returned to Twitter while continuing to lead Square), someone obviously no stranger to disruptive technologies.

A tiny, cheap card reader, coupled with a smartphone, lets anyone take credit card payments: crafters, babysitters, food trucks, photographers, you name it. You no longer need an expensive cash register to do business, nor a bulky, expensive credit card terminal or even a merchant account with a bank. While you could do simple person-to-person payments with services like PayPal, most people are already comfortable using a credit card.

My partner Valentino Valdez and I used Square to sell Kukui High School merchandise at craft fairs, and while most craft fair shoppers carry cash, the ability to use a credit card inspired may to buy a lot more stuff than they normally would.

Today, Square launched the next phase of their campaign to replace the old-fashioned cash register, introducing both Square Register and Card Case. With all this renewed attention on Square, and given my own affection for the technology, I sat down with Burt Lum today to do a quick video about it.

(We’re experimenting with a video series called “Techspotting,” after posting a test episode last week that explained Namesake.)

I’ve talked about Square so much, the company recently sent me a T-shirt and a box of the devices to give away. So while you can always request one for free from the Square website, I’d also be happy to give you one if you want to try it out.

Even if you don’t have a product or service to sell, I’ve found it’s a great way to take care of those friends or coworkers who never seem to have cash when the time comes to split the lunch tab!

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Jeroen (@svache)

    I like your title.. painless payments… unless someone pays me, I always found a payment at least a tiny bit painful ;)

    But maybe I should download the app for Android and see what’s it all about. One thing I am wondering about, is how secure this all is.

    Of course, the website states the standard things every online payment/merchant states, and I am sure it is all true and secure enough but what I mean is more in the sense of adjusting the app to one’s own liking and to store the credit card details on his phone.

    To put it simpler: How would you know at the time of the sale that the merchant is not a shady seller who’s just out for your CC details?

    But, like said, I haven’t checked the app out at all so maybe I am just talking nonsense here but I do believe there could be a potential risk in the way I see it now.

  • EnviroFusion

    Certainly makes it easier for small businesses to conduct a sale without the overhead cost of a ‘conventional’ merchant service through your bank.

    A simple system & device like this helps to keep the economy going even if it means a little competition between you and your bank.

    I’m confident that Square has taken the actions to secure its device so customers information is safe and I make sure I do all transactions with the customer clearly involved so that nothing is questionable.

    Should there be a time when a friend owes me money & doesn’t have cash to pay up, well I think I can count on the Square card reader to recover my funds + the 2.75% interest!

  • Alex Cortez

    Very interesting concept. As a small business owner (my wife owns a bikini shop) I’m always looking for new ways to be more cost-effective, but as an active consumer, I’d like to know more about how secure Square really is. Thanks for the info, Ryan.

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