The battle for control of the merchant cash register has stepped up a gear with Square launching an iPad point-of-sale device and PayPal promising limited free payments processing to retailers that junk their old shopping tills in exchange for a feature rich iPad equivalent.
Square was first out of the blocks with the launch of Square Stand, a proprietary hardware device for running the company's Register app.
Square Stand features an integrated card reader connected to a receipt printer, kitchen printer, cash drawer, and barcode scanner. Retailing at $299, the device works with an iPad 2 or 3, with a version for iPads with Lightning connectors available later this year.
PayPal has responded with an aggressive sales promotion of its PayPal Here offer, which combines an iPad with a card reader, iPad stand, cash drawer and printer.
Introducing the 'Cash for Registers' programme, PayPal president David Marcus says: "We will offer free credit, debit card, cheque, and of course PayPal processing for the remainder of the year to any qualifying US business turning in their dusty old cash register in exchange for a modern solution like PayPal Here".
In contrast to the proprietary route taken by Square,, Paypal has teamed up with a variety of vendors - such as ShopKeep, Vend, Erply and NCR Silver - to bring PayPal Here to the countertop.
"These partners offer cutting edge solutions for different market verticals," says Marcus. "At PayPal we've spent a long time listening to small businesses, and retailers of all sizes, and we came to the conclusion that no one company can cater to the needs of all industries. That's why we have handpicked select partners that are each best-in-class in their respective categories."
Groupon is also looking to make headway by extending its Breadcrumb POS iPad app beyond the restaurant inudstry to include all bricks-and-mortar retail establishments. As an incentive, the company is throwing in free processing on the first $5,000 in credit card transactions for participating retailers.