Posted by & filed under Ecommerce, M-commerce, Supply Chain Management, wireless networks.

Description: Square, an application that turns a smartphone into a mobile cash register, is open for business.

Source: CNN.com TechDate: Oct 25, 2010

Created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square uses a free download and plastic card reader to let users accept credit card payments.
The app charges users 2.75 percent of the transaction cost plus a 15-cent fee — a rate Dorsey said is in line with what retail stores pay for accepting cards. Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • List five specific business applications that this technology would benefit?
  • If you were a small mobile business, why wouldn’t you adopt this technology?
  • What are are the substitutes or competition to Square?

29 Responses to “Mobile-phone cash register Square open for business”

  1. Tyson Hickey

    Instead of the same old same old questions I am going to discuss why this product is practical and should have been thought up earlier for small business.

    It took 3 years to make developers realize that a faster, more efficient, and easier way to get money from customer would be a good idea? But in all seriousness this is a brilliant idea, i am not sure of the functionality of the product and application (like I’m not sure if the bugs have all been worked out already) but if all runs smoothly then i think this product will improve many small previously cash only businesses. With the easy accessibility of accepting credit cards now all businesses no longer have the option of using the archaic methods of cash only. Small side businesses like bike companies, maintenance companies, or any other job people do on the side to generate a little extra money for them and their family can now use this app and product to help them do so.
    Just on a side note i can’t wait till the day that i can pay the local kids with my visa for shovelling my driveway.

    Tyson

  2. Justine Kennedy

    If I were a small business I wouldn’t adopt this technology as it may not be an openly accepted form of payment by all individuals in society. As technology becomes increasingly more complex peoples security and protection becomes more important. I would fear that people would be weary of this form of a payment method as it involes transfering credit card imformation via mobile phones. Mobile phones are a relatively new form of technology (within the last few decades) and many generations have not fully adopted the need for a mobile phone. Although this method would reach some recipients it is really narrowing down on a group of individuals and leaving out the rest. However, it is not as if this would be the only method of payment for customers. Therefore, if adopted I’m sure cash paying, weary customers would still be able to purchase items. In the long run I am sure this will be a form of transaction will become more widely accepted.

    Justine

  3. Trevor Hincks

    The Square seems like a very innovative idea. Many times I’ve been somewhere that doesn’t accept credit cards and thought that it would be convenient to have a device like the Square. As Jack Dorsey alluded to, this would be great for small businesses, to always have an available way to accept credit card payment. It would definitely be more convenient, but I don’t know if it would make sense to use this Square, with the 2.75% service charge along wit the 15-cent charge as well.
    On the flip-side, this new technology would also leave me weary as a customer. It seems like a great idea, but often with innovations such as this, there are major setbacks. I’d be afraid to use something like this before all of the kinks were worked out, primarily kinks with security. It has never been so easy to steal somebody’s credit card number or banking information, and The Square only adds to that.

    Trevor

  4. Rohann K

    The “square” is a benefit for businesses who wants to do a transaction right away and not go to their banks for it to occur. It also helps regular shoppers to scan their credit card and have your receipt on your phone then having the paper in your pocket and maybe losing it. It is much easier to keep your receipt saved on your phone than looking for it when you placed it somewhere.

  5. Mark Molendyk

    If I was a small business owner, I would not accept this as a form of payment. It is a fairly new technology and it may still have issues or bugs that have to be worked out. One main problem this technology faces is Data Security. People might not accept this because it is over mobile devices and sometimes technology can make mistakes. People value their money and want to trust a system that will work all the time. This is a fairly new idea, so the amount of people that will use this as a form of payment is anyone’s guess. As the Technology improves, it will become more popular among mobile device users. In the long run when technology continues to improve on this idea, it will be a benefit to some people, but not everyone.

  6. Danielle Aubin

    I don’t think that this will catch on as quickly or to the extent that twitter or other apps did. This is due to the fact that most big corporations already have credit card payment processors in place so the people that this would be handy for are small businesses that do not want to pay a monthly fee or sign a contract to become part of the “credit card world” by acquiring a credit card processor. In this sense the “square” has met their need. However as a small business you would probably process many small transactions rather than a few large ones. Even though the cost per transaction would be smaller, as it is on a percentage basis, it may end up being more than acquiring a traditional credit card processor as a result of the quantity of transactions. Then again, if your business accepted other forms of payment and credit card payment was not the main type of payment it may pay off. Also depending on your business the mobility of it may be the main attraction and reason for adopting this incredible technology. You would defiantly have to look at each case separately and weigh the differences.

  7. Kelly L

    The “Square” is a great invention for small businesses. It is a small, simple to use, initially free device with lower costs per use than other devices. The “Square” makes accepting payments of debit and credit available to any small business that is willing to pay the 2.75% + 15 cents per use. It is portable, and can be used virtually anywhere. Why didn’t they think of this sooner? It is going to increase sales, as more and more people use debit/credit cards for their purchases. People don’t carry cash around like they used to. If the device works as well as the inventor claims it does, there is no doubt it will be successful.

  8. Dulcie

    This would be of benefit to all types of business (privately owned, delivery companies, corporate businesses). Airline companies, transportation/delivery companies, restaurants.

    This technology could be difficult for small businesses to adopt because it’s a very niche market. It may not be worth the expense.

    The competition would be the original point of sales devices used in every business. It may be difficult for this product to introduce itself into our current market when people are already having a hard time adapting to the use a chip (pin) in their credit cards.

  9. Claudia R

    This new technology will radically change the way individuals and companies pay or collect money from their clients. Since more and more people are using credit cards instead of money to pay for their transactions this tiny device that allows you to accept credit cards with your smart phone is likely to become part of our everyday life.The growth in the development of mobile devices and new technologies like the Square lead to the amazing result that we can do business everywhere.This is a clear evidence of the incresing value of m-commerce with its particular features such as mobility, accessibility and instant connectivity. The fact that the Square and the download of the application is provided for free (they charge a percentage of each transaction amount, only when the transcation takes place) means that this technology is in fact available for everyone.

  10. Lauren Kingston

    I think that the square is a great idea for many small mobile businesses and self employed individuals. I agree with Jack Dorsey that many people don’t carry cash anymore and by the square creating another method of payment it will allow people such as contractors to be paid faster. I work in a small business and have seen first hand how many people charge everything on their credit cards, it is their preferred payment method. The square’s technology creates more opportunities for these heavy credit card users to pay as they wish. The fee proposed is reasonable as I know that this is close to what the company I work for pays.

  11. Nicole

    “The Square” is an innovative and relevant product in the business world because it is a portable way to receive payment via credit card and would be extremely beneficial for small businesses. I don’t think it would be an expensive cost to implement the square because the service fee being charged is competitive compared to what companies are currently paying. As Jack Dorsey mentioned in the video, it creates a way for businesses to collect payment from customers who only have a credit card. Less and less people carry cash, so this technology is extremely functional. It can also be considered a green initiative as it would eliminate paper receipts, which most people cannot keep track of.

  12. Esmarilin

    Despite the advantages to this new innovative idea, As a small business I would personally not adoptt it. The reason being, the issue of security. Many customers would be uneasy about the transition from debit machines to the square on a cell phone. If i were to adopt it, I would make it an option to the customer first, as well I would also provide information about it and how it works, to ensure the customer that their information would be safe. Also as another person commented, I would rather wait to adopt this idea until all the kinks were worked out and more people became informed and entrusted this square. In brief it is innovative, portable, and favorable for those who carry cash but we are also in an era in which privacy of our information is a must, and for that reason alone I would be a late adopter of this technology.

  13. coco dong

    I think it won’t be secure when we use this Mobile-phone cash register. No one can guarantee that our mobile won’t store any information from our credit card. If we lost our cellphone, we need to worried about if this privacy information would be stolen by others. Other reason, moblie device can sent message by wireless in public. There is no guarantee that the internet you used is safe.it really unsecure that the information would be viewed by other people.when you scan your credit card I wound’t feel comfortable to scan my credit card in front of people. Mobile is just a tool for us to connect each other. Since it could carry lots of privacy information by this small invention. It might increase the possibility of being stolen our cellphone. Technology developing fast to make our life more efficiency,but it also increase the possibility for people to lose their private.

  14. Alex Dechant

    The square is a really great innovation that has great potential. This can possibly change the way small business is typically run and reduce costs for everyone. The biggest challenge will obviously be security. Since this is such new technology there very little trust that the square will do its job and do it properly. There is also so much potential here for fraud since it is run from a cell phone that is not directly connected to a physical location. I believe that will proper promotion and a certain amount of time, the square can be adopted into our every day life and create an easy a secure way of doing small business. With the lack of on hand cash transactions in our world today, the square has the capability of opening up many more transaction opportunities once it has been accepted, similar to internet transactions.

  15. Nianze

    If I were a small mobile business, I wouldn’t want to adopt this technology due to the issue of security. Also, from accounting perspective, it would cost me more having to use the new technology as if I were running a small business. Back in years ago, when credit card was just introduced, some old-fashioned people preferred cash over “plastic”. However, online transactions have been widely adopted by the consumers today. I believe that this square technology would have the same kind of trend as credit card when it was just introduced. Back to the point, I do agree with Esmarilin that if I were the small mobile business I would rather to wait for this technology becomes trustworthy and depends on the market demand if customers would prefer to use this square chips. Unfortunately, I only use cell phone only for calling and texting purposes. Why would I want to pay more if I can do it online with my computer?

  16. Alicia Lozynsky

    I read a couple months ago that Korea had developed a method of paying for non cash items through their phone but as a debit card entering their pin through their key pad. I think that an idea like this for North America would just follow the trend of non cash payments everywhere.
    Small business would most likely benefit the most from this idea where most people who rarely carry cash on them now have the ability to raise sales.
    Phones never leave our hands these days and by making them a form of payment is just another thing to ad, along with thousands of applications and chat devices.
    A question to ask how ever is how secured is it? And where is your information stored in case of theft?

  17. Jason F

    I think the square is the best thing since sliced bread. I never carry cash on me anymore, because if I wanted to take out cash I would have to spend $1.50-3.00 in transaction fees, and I hate giving those machines my money. So the square is the perfect way to accommodate anyone at anytime. There are many places that this technology would be good. At schools for fund raisers, small concession stands that are not big enough to accept plastic, around the house to collect bets made by your buddies! There are numerous ways, and the best part is, is that it goes straight to your bank account.
    I have never heard of this before until now, and I have never seen anyone use it, so it must be a pretty new idea to hi the markets, but I believe it a great idea and it will make life alot easier for everyone.

  18. Judy

    I think the “Square” is a great invention that in time will prove to be a very successful product for small businesses and self employed individuals. It is a small, portable, and easy to use device. The Square allows companies/customers to make quick and easy payments via debit/credit cards. However, as a business I would not make a hasty decision and invest in this product without knowing whether it has been successfully tested and all the bugs have been worked out. Security and privacy are major issue for customers, especially when it comes to their financial situations. Everyone likes being assured that their financial information is being handles and stored in a secure manner.

  19. Shawn Nelson

    I feel this is a great and innovative new technology. There will still be some quirks to work out but the technology is great. I have security concerns like some of you but they can be worked out in time. This method can help the small business traveling salesman who can’t afford a bigger and more expensive system. Clients will also be excited with the innovative technology and may even show that you are technologically savvy. Personally I think I will investigate the security problems with square and then I give it a shot with my business. I will run some tests before I use it full out.

  20. Mickenzie Czech

    If the Square catches on I think that is could be an excellent tool. Many vendors who use portable card readers have to put up a big fee in order to use the device and they are big and bulky. The “square” eliminates these large rental fees and drastically increases the convince of payment options. This is also great because there is no excuse for cash only businesses anymore. This inexpensive application will increase sales at businesses that adopt it and increase their customer service.

  21. Jesse Smith

    Much like many new technologies there are both several positives and negatives to the introduction of it into the market. The square is both smaller, and cheaper to have for a small business than interac. For many university students like myself I find that using public atm’s and paying ridiculous surcharges on taking out cash is upsetting. I rather use a device such as this, which allows us to still use our debit cards or credit cards throughout the school and other public places. Although, like many devices that use our banking information, it is a must that security be increased. It seems that with this device it would almost be too easy too steal information from a user, similar to recent problems here in Southern Alberta and ATM scamming. Overall, this is a good product, and would be much to the delight too many students if it went mainstream, both cost effective for students and small business owners, but also extremely easy.

  22. Lauryn

    I think that this is a great idea because it is so true what the article says about no one carrying cash or a cheque book anymore because I don’t know how many times I have had to do a fundraising event and people won’t buy something because they don’t have cash or a cheque. This technology is going to increase the amount of cash flow and business that is done which in turn is going to have a very positive impact on society and the way that we do business in the future.

  23. Paul Quick

    If I was a small business I would not adopt this technology. The Square may seem great from a business perspective, but I believe it will be unfavourable with consumers. The vast majority of consumers will be sceptical of the technology, and will try to avoid the Square. Today customers are more wary of information security and identity theft than ever before; consumers will prefer existing methods of payment with proven histories of security. The lack of an immediate physical receipt will not help customer relations either. This new technology has many benefits, but needs to be developed more fully before it will become widely accepted.

  24. Somaya E

    I was looking at their website squareup.com, and I wouldn’t worry too much about security because it meets all PCI (Payment Card Industry)standards. I think there are cheaper rates out there for debit and credit card machines, but considering that the square piece itself is for free and there are no contracts, that might give it an advantage. The only problem is not everyone has an iPhone or Android phone, and not everyone would be willing to purchase it just for the using the square. Would you need to buy two cell phones? One for you and one for your business. In the end, I think the benefits out weigh the cost because not only can you make card payments, but you can track sales and a lot more without having to print reciepts and sort everything out. Its all recorded on your phone, and you can conveniently check it at any time and any where.

  25. Brittany H

    A small mobile business might not adopt this technology because it could be more time consuming for them. You have to pay for the transaction and if the amount is not a lot you do not lose much money, but if the transaction is bigger than you have to pay more. But the advantage with this technology is you may attract more people who do not have cash on them and so you will make more money. And you won’t have to deal with as much cash anymore. This technology has advantages for mobile businesses and people who would not normally be able to take credit cards.

  26. Kace Warner

    If I were a mobile business regardless of size, I would definiatly adopt this square technology. It seems great and ideal for businesses that are able to accept all forms of payments, at a very low cost. It makes it way more efficent for the business and the consumer. If I got payments on a regular basis, I think I would adopt this technology myself, I think its great, especially since nobody carries cash anymore. I suppose people may be weary of privacy, and what not because it is a new technology, but I think as time goes on, this could be a new dynamic way to accept money.

  27. Amy

    I think the square is a very good idea for small businesses. A lot of people do not carry cash at all anymore, this allows everyone to use their credit cards all the time. Even though right now I think a lot of consumers may be weary about using this technology, in a short amount of time, everyone will get use to it and realize that it is a very easy and simple way to pay for products or services. The sqare would be very good for fundraisers (as mentioned in the video) and not for profit organizations that take donations. If I had a small business I think I would use it, like all technologies it takes some people longer to get use to the idea of some newer technologies than others, but eventually they get over it. Before I would use it in business I would definitely make sure that all my constomers information was safe and secure.

  28. Marlo M.

    If I was a small business owner I would have reservations with using this technology, however the availability and low cost would be very appealing. First of all it is a new technology to phones but not new to personal computers; almost any business owner with a computer and internet can get a card reader program but if it was available on a phone, it would be very accessable to your clients. The one thing that might put me off of this program would be the secutiy features. I think it would be hard to track the security features if this program was used on a phone, which would be something that would be important if running a small business. Your customer’s security would be top priority.

  29. Kara Hurkens

    I think that this would be a difficult technology for small businesses to use as they are already trying to compete with large businesses for lower prices and this may lead the small business to increase their costs. With the transaction fee we can expect that customers are not going to be impressed if they have to pay more for something. It is extremely annoying when you have to use an ATM machine that is not with your bank and pay the extra fee (e.g. $2.75) in order to take cash out from the machine. This reminds me of something very similar. Large businesses may be able to implement this system because they could charge less for their items to compensate for the increased transaction costs, but small businesses are simply unable to do this.

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