Led by Square, mobile
card reader competitors
are popping up everywhere
Square co-founder Jack Dorsey, who made his millions as a founder of Twitter. Click image to enlarge.
THERE’S A QUIET REVOLUTION under way in how we pay for goods and services, one that brings the cashless society a lot closer than many imagine.
It is the tiny card readers now available inexpensively to businesses large and small that attach to a smartphone, iPad or tablet computer and, in a jiffy, process payments over a wireless connection to the internet.
They are inexpensive to purchase, easy to install, and simple to operate. What’s more, they are going to make a few very smart people – like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey – very rich.
Within a few years, we will find them as ubiquitous as regular credit card readers are today. And as consumers, we’ll find them as painless and hassle-free as using credit and debit cards are today.
WATCH A DEMONSTRATION IN A VIDEO BELOW THE FOLD.
THE LEADER OF THE PACK is undoubtedly the first mover in the space Square.
Based in San Francisco, the firm founded by Dorsey and partner Jim McKelvey is only four years old. But already it’s reach is global.
It’s web site is elegant and simple – a subliminal message, perhaps about its product.
The web site of Square: simple, elegant and a subliminal message about the product. Click image to enlarge.
“Start accepting credit cards today.” That’s all it says.
On another screen:
“Everything you need to start, run and grow your business in one free app. Sign up and we’ll mail you a free Square Reader to get started.”
But Square is hardly alone in the space.
In a story headlined Shopify too launches a point of sale system, will compete with Square & others on Aug. 28, Om Malik reports for Gigaom:
“Point of sale systems are the new black – everyone wants to build them and I blame Jack Dorsey and his startup, Square for it.
“The emergence of Square has woken up a lot of latent … energy in companies, big and small.
“PayPal, GroupOn and Yelp are three of the publicly traded players who have accelerated their plans for point of sale systems and each one has their own unique twist.
“There is the incumbent, Verifone. And today we should add Ottawa, Canada-based commerce platform, Shopify to the mix.”
So the competition is definitely heating up.
But not only does Dorsey’s Square have “first-mover advantage,” he also has the smarts and personal fortune to expand aggressively as the others play catch-up.
The home page of the new Japanese language service of Square. Click image to enlarge.
His firm’s entry into the potentially huge Japanese market was reported in PCMagazine on May 23 in an article headlined Square Payments System Expands to Japan.
“With a history of embracing technologies such as QR codes and touchless NFC (Near Field Communication) readers, Japan is often ahead of the rest of the world in terms of mobile commerce,” Adario Strange reported.
“Now Square is betting that the advanced mobile market may be ready to embrace yet another innovation from outside its borders.”
Square, Strange notes, has already had considerable success in the U.S. and the Japanese service started May 23 is “its first service offering to operate outside of the U.S.
“Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter, revealed the news via his Twitter account by posting a simple message: “Square: now available in Japan.”
How totally appropriate.
To kick off the new service, Square has also launched a new Japanese language website as well as a new Japanese TV commercial.
But with all the other players in the space, Square is not going to be able to be coy about the competition.
The story in Business News Daily about Square’s competition. Click image to enlarge.
IN ONE RATING OF SIMILAR services, it is not even in the top three.
According to an article in Business News Daily by Chad Brooks headlined The Best Mobile Credit Card Processing Services, “Accepting payments via mobile devices is one of the fastest-growing and easiest ways to process credit card transactions.
“Whether you want to be able to take payments anywhere in your store or everywhere you and your business go, accepting payments using a mobile device is easy as plugging in a pocket-size card reader into your audio jack and launching an app to process transactions,” Brooks writes.
But, he adds: “[T]he hard part isn’t using the service. The challenge is in choosing the right one for your business. From payment options to security features and service costs, there are several factors that you need to consider before signing up.”
In a review of the different services, Square is not among the top three; they are Flagship ROAMpay; Leaders and Intuit GoPayment.
Whoever comes out on top – and my money is on Dorsey – this will be a major innovation in commerce. It is already being adopted by millions – of merchants and consumers – and moves us all one more step along the path to a totally cashless society.
Watch a hands-on demonstration of the Square mobile payment system in the video below.
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