Square bids to kill off the cash register

Square bids to kill off the cash register

Jack Dorsey's Square has widened its assault on the payments market, launching an application designed to replace point-of-sale terminals with iPads and cards with mobile phones.

The Square Register application replaces "complicated and expensive" cash registers, claims the firm as it takes on companies such as VeriFone, with which it has had a turbulent relationship.

Register works in conjunction with a a new feature for the Square iPhone and Android apps for consumers called Card Case to cover the entire payments process.

A "directory" feature, lets customers find sellers in their neighbourhood using the Square app on their smartphones while merchants can also push their wares through a "menus" option that acts as a digital sandwich board, advertising things such as prices, specials, and popular trending items right on customers' phones, with updates pushed instantly.

Once the customer makes it to the shop, they can open "tabs" with the merchant on their phones. This lets the seller identify them with a stored profile and photo on Square Register so purchases can be made with a single touch of the phone, eliminating the need for cash or cards.

Sellers can then automatically generate and send digital receipts to customers, enabling them to track and store their purchase history on their phone.

The company has initially signed up 50 merchants in Los Angeles, New York, St Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, DC that will let people activate Card Case.

The Square approach sets it apart from Visa, MasterCard, telcos, handset manufactures, Google, and probably Apple, which are all betting on the impending dominance of mobile contactless payments at the point-of-sale.

Says Dorsey: "Cash registers and credit card terminals are relics of an expensive, complicated, and impersonal commercial transaction system. With Register and Card Case, we're transforming everyday transactions between buyers and sellers into something special."

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