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Square Hopes to Kill Cash Register With Square Register

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Not two years after introducing the world to its little mobile credit card reader, Square is looking to write the obituary for the modern cash register–along with every location-based, daily deal and mobile payment app in existence.

From his open-plan, industrial office space within the San Francisco Chronicle building Monday morning, Square CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey unveiled his newest creations– the Square Register for merchant and the Square Card Holder for consumers.

Availble for the iPad, (s aapl) the Square Register is a software platform designed to work with the Square Reader to manage payments and take the place of those “expensive, complicated, and impersonal commercial transaction system,” –also know as the cash register.  Working in tandem with the card reader, the platform gives merchants access to “Google-style analytics” to manage items, check daily transactions, update pricing, automate checkout, generate digital receipts and maintain virtual storefronts. With one swipe of an iPad, your local coffee shop can now easily answer how many cappuccinos sold today or how rain impacts the sale of biscotti’s, Dorsey said.

The register is currently being used by 50 merchants in New York City, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Mo., Washington D.C. and San Francisco. The company did not give a timeline for expansion, other than saying it plans to grow at a measured pace.

Consumers (at least those in the five cities where it has launched) can search for participating businesses by type or location on the new Card Holder application. The location-based service lets users browse menus, find daily specials and manage loyalty cards digitally and offers one-click payment “just like iTunes and Amazon (s amzn).”

Then, when a customer opens his card reader and is ready to check out, he gives the cashier his name. His face and account will pop up on the merchant’s iPad screen. He tells the cashier to charge it to his account.  He will then receive a digital receipt for the purchase. The digital wallet app also allows consumers to see all past purchases online.

“You just pay with your name. It’s really easy, it’s really magical,” Dorsey said.

And don’t forget all the paper you’re saving.

“All that clutter, all that mess. Get rid of takeout menus, get rid of loyaty cards. reciepts. Replace it with one digital card,” he said.

Since its first little plastic reader went off the production line, Square says it has shipped out 500,000 readers. It says Square users have made one million purchases (that’s an average of just two per reader) that account for more than $1 billion in gross payment.

With the reader, register and card holder, Square thinks it has hit the trifecta of mobile payments. It not only wants to eliminate the register, it wants to eliminate every startup offering daily deals or loyalty card solutions. Dorsey says:

What we think is that there alot of people working are also working in this space are concerned with the parts of transactions … payments, coupons, receipts. Waving around your phone in the air next to a terminal hoping that you hear a beep. We don’t think that’s the right way to go.  We think In order to do this right you have to have one system. You have to build  for the buyer, the seller and everything in between.”

11 Responses to “Square Hopes to Kill Cash Register With Square Register”

  1. The problem I see, is that no-one is going to hand Square so much power. NFC, on the other hand, may not be perfect but it is a common standard that many companies can compete in. I can’t see all the banks, mobile operators, hardware makers & retailers all agreeing to simply hand Square the keys to the consumer.

  2. Daniel

    Did I do the math wrong or did he just claim that the mean payment so far has been over $1000 (and that the mean/person has been over $2000)? That seems improbable.

  3. jason

    if this were to work, big picture, long run, square, or whoever picks up the reins for the next order of magnitude in progress will have to convince Apple (cause the iOS devices seems to be the most prevalent/stable scenario out there, as well as the most ‘locked down’) to stop white-knuckling their stranglehold on the transparency and flexibility of their devices. 

    there’s NO way I’m gonna see an significant segment of today’s consumers allowing themselves to be herded like sheep into something like this, only to discover that the ‘sync’ the allowed this morning on the way out the door, inadvertently wiped out all their  critical personal financial records and information, along with erasing all it’s digital content in a whirlwind of some ‘this device is already synced to another iTunes account. if you proceed, all your …’ 

    crap. there I said it, STEVE JOBS !! it’s CRAP !!

    I can understand how fragile the business model of these devices seemed initially, most certainly warranting some sort of insurmountable hooks on Apples part to assure they stay fairly central and ‘needed’ with regard to these ‘things’ they made (would ‘Pandoras Box’ comparisons be reasonable ?), that, based on results, have an AWFUL lot of potential for who knows what.

    let’s assume I’m on track here, cause I can already feel the pressure from the ‘cloud’, assaulting me with who knows how many differing opinions of anything I’ve said, all of them in agreement that beheading would be too kind for me. let’s assume.

    I would like to go out on a limb, and suggest Apple maybe consider a policy for the future that embraced even some minor hints of being on the side of those who purchase their gear, and stop this charade of standing at the door to their house, and idly looking right past us/over us/through us with that smug aloofness that just makes ya wanna slap somebody in the face for being a jerk.

    like we’re not even people. like we’re nothing more than stark earning figures, balanced against collective expenses, producing some factor showing a level of expendable income, if which they are ‘hunters’. 

    makes me feel kinda naked, no ? like I can feel the heat of their breath, as they calmly, quietly lick their chops, salivating at what lies before them. what is THEIRS …

    and I’m supposed to put my  financial ‘spinal cord’ on this thing ? ha !! ha, I say !! i mean, who’s to say what sort of exclusively selfish self-interest they are going to masturbate next, all at the catastrophic expense of a whole bunch of us !!

    no sir. I say Apple has demonstrated, as of late, a disturbing, and increasing solid contempt for their market,  disguised as a best buddy, with a heart-felt slaponthebackforya,yessir.

    Supertramp says it best. 

    ‘Give a little bit…’

    just a little ‘square’, so we know you’re ‘in’ there, and we can trust you know we’re out here. 

  4. scuzy

    It sounds like this would work regardless of whether the payment and selling mechanism is based on the Square hardware or some other new system in the future such as NFC. They are building infrastructure that can work across multiple payment implementations

  5. This is very exciting news. I think the ability to get itemized, electronic receipts is one of the cooler parts of it. This alone makes it better than Starbucks’ implementation which doesn’t tell you what you actually ordered in your account. I’m planning to try it out tomorrow at a dumpling place nearby, so hopefully all goes well.

    Rob Ungar

  6. This is fantastic news for small coffeeshops etc everywhere.. This makes for a very compelling use case. It is now far cheaper than a merchant account or verifone for smaller merchants, especially when you factor in that you get a free POS. FeeFighters made a cool calculator that really shows what makes sense for what sized business (mostly square for coffeeshops, etc!).

  7. Umami

    NO. EFFIN’. WAY. I will NOT place my entire life on a mobile device, and I will NOT give any company this much combined purchasing data.

    I am almost tempted to steal a phone from an idiot that uses this crap and run up as many charges as possible.

      • I don’t use credit cards or debit cards. I only pay in cash or checks—and it’s getting more and more to be cash only. If a store won’t take cash, that store has just lost my business. And I don’t own or want a mobile device either. I’m saving a heck of a lot of money by ignoring all this smartphone and iPad stuff.