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Square adoption and the bigger mobile payments opportunity

September 22, 2011

The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) recently published an article on the growth of the Square mobile card reader service which included some interesting graphics.

First, an image showing the types of things purchased, and where, scaled by the volume of those types of purchases in each locale:

The author of the Atlantic article was exploring whether Square had any mainstream appeal or was just a hipster novelty.  As he noted in the article:

I asked Square to make me a map of their transactions to see where they had users. The map you see at the top of the page shows one hour of transaction volume on a Friday afternoon. The size of the bubble represents the volume of the transactions while the different colors indicate the types of users that Square has.

The author also included a map showing one month of Square transactions, with each transaction represented by a tiny black dot.  Here's how one month of Square usage appears:

Writing about why these adoption patterns matter, the author summarizes:

Square is exciting because its mobility and low up-front costs allow entirely different types of business to move money with credit cards. Individuals, freelancers, farmers, nursery owners, Etsy DIY types, and a whole bunch of other people can actually treat cards as cash.

I'd take this one step further and say that mobile, low cost payments are exciting in general, and mobile payments are a very big opportunity across the board.  PayPal is doing some very interesting things to make the end-to-end mobile purchase process simpler for users and developers (click here to read my post on some recent PayPal sneak peeks of upcoming solutions to be officially launched in coming months).

It's a terribly exciting time to be a payments-savvy developer, isn't it?!?

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