Square Gets Into The Cash Register Business

on Tuesday, May. 14th

Square, the mobile payment system created by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey is taking another step forward in their quest to own the small business point-of-sale space.

They're launching an iPad holder.

Alright, that's too cynical. This is actually an integrated cash register stand–the Square Stand— that lets business owners connect the essentials to a iPad running Square's register app. iPad not included.

The thing is, they're going to need a major push if they want to make headway in the small business space. At least if the temperature of my own neighborhood' businesses are any indication.

Some anecdotal evidence after the jump.

A lot of the hipster coffee places in my neighborhood use the Shopkeep POS system that integrates with an iPad. One of them even switched from Square to Shopkeep because "Square couldn't keep up with our volume".

Looking at the Shopkeep store, their hardware package comes in at $1,099 and that includes an iPad2, printer, cash drawer, stand and swiper. The previously available option from Square, the "Business in a Box", came with a stand, card reader, drawer and printer for just $249. iPad still sold separately.

I know that as a customer of these places–Commissary and Alfred in West Hollywood, for the record–the user experience within Shopkeep is pretty good. It is–however–not quite as awesome as being able to roll in and put it on my tab, which is possible with Square. Something that comes in handy when one is craving coffee post-run while not carrying a wallet.

This is only anecdotal, but Square had to have been feeling some heat from these more "all in one" POS systems… even if the fee structures are not as good of a deal. Shopkeep refers businesses to standard credit card processors, or lets them integrate with Square competitors PayPal and LevelUp. This can be extremely attractive to a small business owner. The owner of one of the cafes chose the system because the other one used it. This is one way that standards develop.

If nothing else the Square Stand is a hell of a lot more stable of a platform than the tiny Square reader the company has been pushing so far. While hyper-convenient for those who want to take mobile payments with their iPhone I've alway found that the little squares don't feel all that sturdy. I'm always worried that I'm going to apply the wrong pressure and snap the blasted thing off.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)


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