Square. Square is a simple credit card payment system powered by a dongle that anyone can plug in to their smart phone or iPad. Square will send you a dongle for completely free, in exchange for taking a 2.75% cut from purchase made by the Square unit. This is a relatively low transaction fee for the seller, and for the shopper it's a more helpful purchase experience. After your first purchase from a Square register, the system remembers you credit card and pulls up your information automatically- including your email and cell phone, where you can receive digital receipts that include a list of the items you purchased and a map showing exactly where you bought from. Square is so simple to set up and use that I've even got one for the rare time someone wants to pay me back for something by credit card.
Up until now I haven't seen any stores in New York City using Square (though nothing was stopping them). But this week Square announced a brand new product and Manhattan was one of its launch markets. The new program is called Card Case, and it's a very cool. Now sellers can set up a product menu via Square, and shoppers can register digital credit cards with vendors. After a shopper has paid via the Square system once at a particular merchant with their credit card, they can link to that merchant permanently. Then in the future you can see what the merchant is selling that day, and pay at that the store without ever pulling your credit card. The virtual cards are kept in the new Square iPhone app in a wallet-like screen. With this a physical store merchant can now feature sale items, manage customer loyalty and more in a completely connected relationship powered by Square. You can see what the Card Case looks like in my pictures above.
I love the idea of Square. I love that it shows me all of the transactions I've made at a vendor over time, and easily lets me see what they were. I love that I get digital receipts instead of wasted paper. Now I love that I don't even have to take my credit card out of my wallet to pay at places I go often. And I'm really excited that my favorite coffee shop in New York City, Everyman Espresso, is one of the launch partners for Square Card Case. Before this, Everyman didn't even take credit cards- so clearly they see value in the system for themselves, as well as customers.
Keep your eye out for Square payment options soon, and let me know what you think.