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Innovative start-up Square has created a real-world payment system that operates from the comfort of your smartphone. The technology is currently limited to 50 vendors across the US, though the quick payment method is expected to spread like wildfire once more businesses adopt the system.

Users must download a virtual wallet app called a “Card Case” to use the service which adds a virtual credit card for each vendor. When a user visits the shop in the future they simply pull out the card and tap “Start tab” (which marks them as an active customer) before shopping as normal.

The teller then totals the purchase and scans for active customers before selecting the appropriate one from the list and requesting payment. Customers are then able to leave the shop without even reaching for their wallets. There are no paper receipts and the system also supports the listing of local Square-enabled businesses and menus straight to your device.

The Card Case app is not available for just anyone to download on the App Store, and those interested must visit a participating retailer first. The retailer will scan the payment card and the customer will receive a text message containing a set-up link which will download the app.

Vendors can sign up to the Square service and receive a free card reader in the process at, which allows anyone to accept credit card payments wirelessly. Vendors incur a flat fee of 2.75% every time a payment is taken, and the card reading technology works on both Android and iOS devices.


Would you use such a payment system? Any security concerns? The best news all week? Let us know what you think of Square in the comments below.


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  1. MikeyrInFL
    May 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I am as excited as anyone by new tech developments but this reminds me of the little black key chain stick/fob that Mobil issued some years back. This may make checkout lines move faster or not; can't tell yet. It just strikes me as a "solution in search of a problem."

  2. max
    May 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

    As a merchant I would say there are a lot cheaper posibillities to except card payaments then add aother service who will get 2.75% of every payment. As there neither Google nor Squarenor anyone else is much cheaper than i already get from my aquiring bank i would say why should i add souch an service? I don't add any $ to my wallet. Its only another payment method which is nice for the customer but a hassle for merchants and mor expensive than what i have now.

  3. Edward Polack
    May 28, 2011 at 12:56 am

    I have a square account because I think it will be extremely useful.  I don't see credit cards going away anytime soon and if someone forgot there cell phone somewhere, they may still be able to use there credit card to purchase things utilizing the square swipe attachment.  I think this will go a long way!

  4. Nick Reuter
    May 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I think the Square app is quite different in that it incorporates a POS system that a retailer can use as well. Where I don't think Square (or Google's Mobile Wallet) changes things is in mitigating the real annoyance consumers have: waiting in lines. 
    I actually just wrote a blog post on this today, about how I believe Google Wallet is really an evolutionary change, but not revolutionary. While I welcome NFC with open arms, I don't think it is (even close) to the be all and end all for consumer payments in physical establishments. More in my blog post:

  5. Skeptic
    May 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Is it only me or anyone else noticed the irrelevancy of this square outfit, after what google announced their eWallet or whatever the name it is, letting you pay by your cell phone ? If I were a merchant, who would I go with ? A small outfit who has no proven track record or some behemoth like google ? It may be a hard decision for some but not for me. Google is going to eat their lunch. I am not a big fan of apple crap, so I don't know how soon google's ewallet will be available for iOS but I am sure they will not leave 40+% of US based smartphone users on the table for someone else.

    I want to say it is going to be interesting to watch, but I am already bored.. Yaaawn.. aaah...