Stumbled upon this interesting concept and device the other day, and have been intrigued. Can just anyone accept a credit card payment using their iPhone and a mini-credit-card reader device plugged into the jack?
This is the scenario: I want to buy a homecoming dress for my daughter from a local seller on Craigslist. I don’t want to have to go get $100 in cash from the ATM, then drive to get the dress. What if I just went to get the dress, let the seller run my check card via her iPhone or Droid, and be done with the transaction and walk away with the dress?
A similar need fueled the development of SquareUp, a San Francisco-based startup that developed not only an App for taking credit card payments via the iPhone, but the tiny “card reader” hardware device to go with it. The result? Anyone could potentially take a credit or debit card payment from you on the fly, as long as they had an internet connection.
Here’s how it works. You download the Square Up App from iTunes or Android Market to your device (iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Nexus One, Droid, or Samsung Vibrant), and then fill out the application for service. You will have to have a bank account and your social security number and mailing address will be required. Once your application is approved, Square Up send you the tiny piece of hardware you will need to swipe cards, and you will be good to go. As for security, the company is Verisign approved, and follows all best practices in securing transactions made on the SquareUp app, and follow all protocols set out by the PCI Security Standards Council.
I can think of a ton of uses for such a device. As an author who sells books to individuals on demand at fairs and lectures, the ability to quickly and securely take credit cards without all the major overhead fees often encountered could be a big bonus. One of the reasons I don’t take credit cards for books is because of the cost of overhead in doing it through traditional banks. SquareUp is currently intended for low-level users like me, who may take occasional payments. And, it’s just another reason I should be considering upgrading my semi-smart phone to an Android in the near future.