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Secure Transactions News

Square proposes

Thursday 2 June 2011

The new Square Register app for iPads enables businesses to checkout their pre-registered customers’ purchases. Moreover, it also allows merchants to manage items they sell, check daily transactions, update pricing, generate digital receipts, and maintain virtual storefronts, so customers can discover and explore new offerings when they’re in the neighborhood.

To benefit from this solution, customers must create a virtual in-house account, or ‘Tabs’, linked to a credit or debit card account, for each participating Square Register merchant. Thus, Square will become another company to store credit card numbers like Amazon.com, Apple’s iTunes, or Sony, who recently faced a hacker attack that caused a breach with possible credit/debit cards numbers leaks (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #11-18).

The second solution, Square Card Case, enables iPhone and further Android users to organize multiple merchant accounts, explore local businesses, view menus, track and store digital receipts, and open digital tabs to make instant purchases on their phones. To use Card Case, a consumer must pay for a transaction with a credit or debit card at a merchant, who uses Square Register app. After a card payment at such merchants, consumers may receive a text message invitation to install Square’s app on their smart phone, linking the customer’s account with the card that he initially used at the merchant.

Once a shopper opens a ‘Tab’ on his phone, sellers can verify a customer’s identity with a stored profile and photo on Square Register and approve their purchases with one touch. The Square Register then charges the purchase to the linked account and sends a receipt to the customer. Nonetheless, to ensure a necessary security level, for purchases worth more than US$ 50 (EUR 35), customers would be required to enter their PIN code on merchant’s iPads.

The Square Register solution also includes the ‘Menus’ feature, which enables local shops and restaurants to advertise instantly current menus, prices, daily specials, and popular trending items directly on customers’ phones, and the ‘Directory’ feature that allows consumers to discover and explore nearby sellers virtually.

Square main strategy is contrary to NFC adoption trends and doesn’t require any hardware update for solutions that merchants already rely on. However, Square products still raise some security level concerns (cf. SIW #11-11). Nonetheless, there are currently 50 authorized Square Register app-enabled merchants in Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, and Square claims that it has already received interest from larger retailers.

Also, Square reported a few more milestones: 500,000 Square card readers shipped totally, 1 million Square transactions in May 2011, and US$ 3 million (EUR 2.1 million) processed in mobile payments each day.