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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.

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.
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).

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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.

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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.

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Background

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.

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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

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