Square, the 3-year-old company started by Jack Dorsey, announced that it is now handling over 8 billion dollars worth of transactions. Now that’s a lot of money. Mr. Dorsey, of Twitter fame, launched the company as a sort of side project when the idea for mobile credit card processing bubbled up in a conversation with co-founder and friend Jim McKelvey. McKelvey was unable to process a potential purchase of a few thousand dollars since the buyer only had a credit card on hand. And it was that nuisance that helped launch a company that is now rumored to be valued at around 3.25 billion dollars.
The success of Square continues to push the adoption of mobile devices in households and companies around the states. Walking out of a Vons store a few months back I was approached by a group of Girl Scouts hoping to sell me a box of cookies. While tempted, I went for my standard excuse and said, “Sorry I don’t have any cash on me.” But these scouts were on their game and countered, stating that they accept all sorts of credit cards thanks to their handy Square attached to an iPhone. Needless to say, I had to admit to them that I simply didn’t want any cookies, but the damage to my ego had already been done.
For those small businesses hoping to avoid complicated credit card fees and charges, Square charges 2.75 percent (compared to ~ 2.o percent for most credit companies), and argues that the fixed fee will save businesses more money over time. More and more companies are started to really think about the completely digital checkout register. Square’s COO Keith Rabois boldly predicts that most retailers will switch to Square or similar devices within the next two years. “The era of standalone machines is over,” said Rabois. “Everyone will be migrating to iPads and comparable devices, which will be powered by an app — that is, hopefully, Square.”
While that is quite a statement, if even a quarter of the nations retailers adopted a Square-like payment system, the mobile device industry would get a huge boost. All those new screens in the everyday stores and shops would provide a whole new, targeted venue for advertisers to try and market in. With Starbucks being one of the first major companies to endorse and invest in Square, the sky is the limit. Imagine the self checkout registers at retailers like Wal-Mart replaced with smaller more efficient tablets, allowing for another revenue stream for the company with real-time ads pushed right onto the tablet screen. Square devices are now available at AT&T retail stores, Walgreens, Staples, and FedEx Office stores. The company also announced its plans to expand internationally later this year.