Square for iPhone and iPad is really shaking up the mobile payments space. It started with a small card reader that is attached to a device’s 3.5mm headset jack and an application that allowed credit or debit card payments to be processed, and anyone who owned an iPhone, iPad or Android device could use it – including merchants. Now it looks like Square is giving small businesses and bigger merchants the opportunity to use its iPad payment system in favor of a traditional POS.
Today, Dorsey is revealing Square Register, a high-powered point of sale replacement for cash registers and point of sale terminals. And the company is taking it one step further for consumers by launching the Square Card Case, a way for purchasers to access a local merchants’ goods, prices, location, loyalty card and more.
The Square Card Case is a brilliant idea. Normally, when you make a purchase at a cafe or sandwich shop, you might get a card that allows you to earn points toward a free or discounted item–it’s a great way for businesses to retain customers and for the customers to have some incentive to return. The Square Card Case replicates that experience virtually: when you visit a merchant who participates in the program, you’ll be given an app to download and you can get virtual cards from the merchants. But here’s the really cool part:
In a merchant’s card within the case, you can press a “use tab” button which allows the frequent customer to essentially put a purchase on their virtual tab with Square at the merchant. So once you press that button within two blocks of the merchant, you’ll be able to tell the cashier your name and your card will be charged on the merchant’s backend Square register. Because you are a repeat customer, Square already has your payment information. The purchaser will then receive a push notification when the merchant processes the payment.
It’s a lot cooler than NFC, don’t you think?
While Square still has a way to go, it looks like Jack Dorsey is taking it in the right direction. And why wouldn’t he? The man had vision enough to get Twitter, an outrageously popular social networking and location-based service, off the ground and is now heading Square at the same time. TechCrunch calls the new payment system “disruptive,” and while it sounds a bit bullish and sensational, I’m inclined to agree – especially after seeing the new Square Register and the virtual card case app.
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