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Who will corner the market on mobile card readers?

April 28, 2011

Mobile credit card reader competition continues to heat up.

Square credit card readers are now being sold directly by Apple in their retail stores and online.  Square readers also work on iPad and iPod touch (i.e. any current iOS-based device) as well as Android devices.  The readers connect using a mobile device’s headphone jack.

Square in the iTunes App Store

It’s interesting to note that if you sign up for Square’s service directly via their own site, you get the reader mailed to you for free.  If you buy the reader from Apple, it costs $9.95 which Square then offsets for you with a $10 credit to your merchant account.

However you acquire your card reader, Square’s giving you the reader “razor” to be able to sell card swipe fee “blades” repeatedly.  Note that you can also use Square’s iOS or Android app to process transactions by keying in details rather than swiping a card.  This changes the fees a bit (see table below for details).  Either way, you get a free reader for what Square hopes will be many, many transaction fees in return.

There have been some previous allegations that Square’s system wasn’t secure, but they received a huge statement of confidence this week with the announcement that Visa has made a strategic investment in Square.  I’d be very surprised if Visa hadn’t done their due diligence on Square’s system before making such an investment and announcing it to the world.  You can follow the latest news on this investment via @Square on Twitter.

Click to read the complete post on the PayPal X Developer Network including information on how Square compares to their major competitor, Intuit GoPayment. The post includes a table summarizing the key fees of both systems.

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