iPhone card swiper war
Three rival companies are placing heavy bets on that vision, bringing to market three different magnetic stripe readers this year for use with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. They're battling each other for the hearts and wallets of mobile merchants, promising an improvement over the POS terminals.
Jack Dorsey’s Square (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #09-43) has been the first to launch this kind of solution only supporting magstripe cards. Then it has some serious competition. VeriFone recently started shipping an iPhone sleeve called the PAYware Mobile credit card swiper (cf. SIW #10-02). And Mophie, an iPhone case maker, plans to release its own payment device, the Marketplace, in late March (cf. SIW #10-03).
Merchants certainly have other iPhone options. They can, for example, use applications like InnerFence, iMerchant Pro and Swipe It, which accept credit card numbers entered by hand. The downside? Merchants typically pay higher fees for "card-not-present" transactions and are more vulnerable to fraud.
Now with the 4th player coming into the area, iPhone card swiper war is going to heat up.