updated 12:50 pm EDT, Mon October 24, 2011
Square readers spread to most major US shops
Square significantly widened the reach of its mobile payment reader hardware on Monday with a retail expansion. The device was already available at Apple stores but is now available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Target. The reach gives it 9,000 potential places to buy the iOS- and Android-ready add-on, which normally costs $10 and should give users an equal amount of initial credit in payments.
The startup, created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has been growing rapidly and has been one of the biggest challenges to traditional retail purchasing. It's now on track to process $2 billion in payments a year. About 10 percent of all MasterCard and Visa transactions now go through the small white cubes.
Much of the company's success has come through a combination of the payment model as well as the nature of the devices. At a 2.75 percent cut per payment, the overhead is relatively light. On an Android phone, iPhone, or a 3G iPad, they also make it possible for vendors to digitally process credit cards that would never have had the option before, such as food trucks or even individuals at home.