Credit Card Swiping Goes Mobile Thanks to Square

By | May 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

With mobile payment systems becoming more prominent in our everyday lives, we investigate Square, one of the U.S’s leading providers.


Founded in February 2009, Square ( focuses on making the process of paying with plastic easier for the retailer whilst giving the consumer absolute spending freedom.

The idea was conceived when Jim McKelvey, a San Francisco based artist, couldn’t sell a piece of his glass art due to a lack of credit card facility. In order to address this issue the team at Square devised a mobile solution that would, in the words of co-founder Jack Dorsey, “make transactions as smooth and simple as possible.”

Using The App…

Anyone can start to accept credit and debit card payments by downloading the app and plugging a small plastic cube into the headphone jack of an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android phone.

From there-on-in the process is extremely straight forward: the card is swiped through the reader, the customer then checks the amount and signs on the touchscreen using their finger, adding any tips if they choose to. They then enter their email address or phone number and pass the device back to the merchant. A receipt message will then be sent by email or SMS text message – a process that can occur whilst the customer is walking away with their goods.

The swiper device and application are free and include access to an online dashboard with built-in analytics to allow merchants to track exactly what they have sold.

To date 1,000 users are currently using the Square card swipers as part of a pilot scheme with Dorsey expecting to distribute several million more within the next three months. The system is only available for use in the United States.

Image Credit: Andres Rueda

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