Feeds

Apple Square sallies forth from stores

iPhone banky box is go. Bothered?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Square is now in the Apple stores, both physical and virtual, putting the banking revolution in a plastic cube in front of a lot more eyes than its competitors.

For only $10 anyone can drop into an Apple store, pick up a Square box to plug into an iPhone, download the free app and start taking credit card payments. As long as that person is in the USA, and the credit cards were issued in America, and everyone is happy to give 2.75 per cent to Square.

Square isn't really a banking revolution; it's a repacked version of an existing service with slightly worse security and lots of Web 2.0 support (the company was founded by Jack Dorsey, formerly of Twitter fame).

Square claims to be disruptive, but such services have been around for decades in various forms. The company works hard to create an impression that it is something new, and does provide a veneer of usability on what has historically been complicated; but various other companies provide the same functionality with comparable rates, not to mention better security and a better physical fit onto the iPhone.

Feefighters provides a sliding scale to help businesses decide which low-volume credit card transaction processor will be cheaper for them. But iPhone users are notoriously insensitive to price, which is good considering that Square will send you a box for free if you sign up on its website.

Still, being in the Apple store is significant as it puts the product in front of people who might never have considered accepting credit cards before. VeriFone might provide a comparable service, and Roam Data might make a better box, but lots of users won't bother searching for alternatives to what they find on the Apple shelves.

It's hardly surprising that Square wants to charge for the boxes, given that the company has reportedly handed out 300,000 of them for free so far. That means, taking the company's claimed business of $1m a week, that each Square customer is processing something like $3 in transactions each week, and thus paying Square around eight cents every seven days.

At that rate it will take two years for the customer to pay off the cost of the box alone - unless they paid $10 in the Apple store for it. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files
DTS and Sonos sing out but not off the same hymnsheet
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.