Payment device attached to an iPhone for swiping cards
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey announced his latest venture, a company called Square. As an attempt to solve many of the key issues associated with accepting online payments, Square promises a refreshingly simple system for cutting through the red tape.
Square provides merchants with small squarish attachments that plug into mobile phones — apparently iPhones and Motorola Droid phones, judging from images on the company’s web site — and through which a credit card slides. Customers can then sign on the phone’s screen and get a receipt via email.
The company intends to roll out service “to everyone in early 2010,” according to a statement on its web site, squareup.com, which lists 11 staff members. Dorsey is the CEO.
Here are the key features:
- Start accepting payment cards immediately with Square. No contracts, monthly fees, or hidden costs. Effortlessly manage all the money you take with an easy and intuitive interface.
- Create a Square payer account to speed up and secure every payment. With photo verification, Square users can visually confirm you are the card holder.
- Read payment cards from any device with an audio input jack, including your mobile phone. Accepting payments has never been faster or more convenient.
- If you frequent a place that accepts Square, we’ll let them know you’re a repeat customer. That 10th cappuccino may be on the house, no paper coffee card required.
- As a payer, get your receipts sent to your email or mobile phone instantly and access them securely online. You can also use a text message to authorize every payment in real-time. View sample
- Square will donate a penny of every transaction you take to a cause of your choice. Working together to better the world, one small step at a time.
In February 2009, Jim McKelvey wasn’t able to sell a piece of his glass artbecause he couldn’t accept a credit card as payment. Even though a majority of payments has moved to plastic cards, accepting payments from cards is still difficult, requiring long applications, expensive hardware, and an overly complex experience. Square was born a few days later right next to the old San Francisco US Mint.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey
Today the Square team is focused on bringing immediacy, transparency, and approachability to the world of payments: an inherently social interaction each of us participates in daily. We’re starting with a limited beta and rolling out to everyone in early 2010.
Square is backed by Khosla Ventures and a team of angels.
Square, Inc. has offices in San Francisco (Product & Engineering), Saint Louis (Operations), and New York City (Risk & Partnerships).
More at Squareup.com