|Type of business||Private|
|Key people||Zhijian Zhang (CEO)
Li Zhu ((Vice President of Business Development)
Bing Shi ((Vice President of Finance and Operations)
|Products||Mobile Retail Solution|
|Services||Mobile Retail Marketing and Operation|
Square is an electronic payment service, provided by Square Inc. Square allows users in the United States and Canada to accept credit cards through their mobile phones, either by swiping the card on the Square device or by manually entering the details on the phone.
Square consists of the following components:
- The card reader is a plastic device which plugs into the audio jack of an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android based mobile phone.
- Square Register, the app for accepting credit cards using the card reader device. It is available free for iOS and Android. On the iPad version of the app, the interface resembles a traditional cash register.
- Square Wallet allows customers to set up tabs and pay with their names. It also enables them to receive electronic receipts.
In August 2012 Starbucks announced it would start using Square to process transactions with customers who pay via debit or credit card. The corporation will also reportedly invest $25 million in Square Inc., with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz becoming a board member of the company.
The original inspiration for Square occurred to Jack Dorsey in 2009 when James McKelvey (a friend of Dorsey at the time) was unable to complete a $2,000 sale of his glass faucets and fittings because he could not accept credit cards. McKelvey explained this problem to Dorsey who built a working prototype of Square.
The name "Square" refers to the Square card readers which are square in shape. The name also refers to the commonly used phrase for payments: "Are we square?". However several other names were also considered and then rejected, these names include squirrel, stash and wallet.
Introduced in early 2010 by Square Inc., the Square application is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android-based mobile phones. Square was co-founded by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. Dorsey also serves as CEO, Keith Rabois as COO.
Square currently has more than 400 employees.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in May 2011, Square announced the release of two new apps, Card Case and Register. Card Case allows customers to view merchant menus, do mobile payments, receive virtual receipts, and discover other Square-enabled merchants. Square Register is point of sale software aimed at replacing traditional credit card terminals and cash registers.
Square received angel investment from Marissa Mayer, Kevin Rose, Biz Stone, Dennis Crowley, Shawn Fanning, Ed Cramer, and Esther Dyson. Since then, it has raised several additional rounds of funding:
- Series A funding from Khosla Ventures
- Series B funding from Sequoia Capital
- Series C funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
- Series D funding from Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management, and Starbucks
The company's valuation in September 2012 was 3.25 billion dollars.
Square charges a fee of 2.75% on every credit card transaction. This rate is higher than the rate charged by conventional credit card processors, but Square claims that the conventional credit card processors also include many hidden costs which are never disclosed to the customers. Square does not have any additional fees beyond the 2.75% per swipe (or the 3.50% plus $0.15 cost per manually-entered transaction) - there are no monthly fees or set-up costs. Square claims that its costs are, on average, lower than the costs charged by the conventional credit card processors. Square is regarded as a useful app for entrepreneurs, including for example consultants, food truck operators, and traditional retailers. In August, 2012, Square introduced a flat rate plan , whereby a flat fee of $275.00 per month is charged, and is all-inclusive. The flat rate plan is available to all merchants with under $250,000 in yearly credit card sales, and no more than $20,833 in monthly sales. When the monthly or annual maximum sales are exceeded, the plan reverts to the traditional 2.75% model.
Square is trying to build a two-sided market with an interesting market staging model. Payments is a space which is especially difficult to get into, partly because it is very difficult to have a critical mass of buyers and sellers start using your payment mechanism simultaneously. Square is solving this by targeting one group at a time. The standalone credit card swiping value proposition was enough for merchants to start adopting the product. The consumer side of the equation, which is still kicking in, has the potential to disrupt retail payments altogether but that was not the dream that was sold to the merchants originally.
Swiped payments are deposited directly into a user's bank account within 1-2 business days. In some instances, Square may withhold payments to its users pending issues related to chargebacks.
Square's original reader consisted of a simple read head directly wired to a 3.5mm audio jack, through which unencrypted, analogue card information was fed to smartphones for amplification and digitization. Square's Technology is PCI compliant and Verisign certified. It uses strong encryption on its devices, including SSL and PGP. Its cryptographic keys are at least 2048 bits in length. Card numbers, magnetic stripe data, or security codes are not stored on Square client devices. Square follows the guidelines issued by OWASP.
- payleven - a dominant mobile credit and debit card processor operated by payleven. payleven is the first company to be live in Europe and Latin America markets and first to enable Chip&Pin solution in both markets. The transaction fee differs depending on the country. There are no monthly fees, and for Brazil the transaction fee is 2.69% for debit and 4.39% for credit, 2 business days to get paid.
- GlobalPay - a mobile credit card processing company that offers wireless payments solution to traveling merchants. Their business model is different than Square although they also provide their merchants with a free card reader and a free processing application. They offer 3 plans ranging from 0.99% to 2.70% for swiped cards and 3.49% + $0.19 per keyed in transaction, the 2.70% plan has no monthly fee, competing with Square's model, and has the benefit of Quickbooks Integration. Customer service is based on a phone line or email support.
- SailPay - also a dominant mobile credit card processor operated by VeriFone Inc. SailPay offers two distinctive plans, one with no monthly fee and 2.70% per transaction made to Visa or Mastercard and 2.95% for American Express and one with a monthly fee of $9.95 and 1.95% per transaction, both plans have a key in rate of 3.7%. SailPay offers a phone and email customer service for its merchants.
- iZettle - also a dominant mobile credit card processor operated by iZettle AB. iZettle is predominantly active on the European market. The transaction fee differs depending on the country. There are no monthly fees, and for the United Kingdom the transaction fee is 2.75% for each transaction with the chip-card reader and £0.10 + 3.50% for manually keyed transactions.
Business Insider praised the product for its "ease of use, simplicity and elegance". Business Insider favorably compared Jack Dorsey with Steve Jobs for what they call his "entrepreneurial vision and charisma".
In March 2011, rival payment company VeriFone claimed that the Square system was insecure, and that a "reasonably-skilled" programmer could write a replacement app which could conceivably use the Square device to skim a credit card and return its details. VeriFone posted a demonstration video and sample skimming app to its website. Dorsey called VeriFone's claims "neither fair nor accurate", noted that the card data could be gathered visually from the card, and said that the claims ignored the fraud protection provided by card issuers.
In January 2012, California Herbal Relief Center, a nonprofit marijuana clinic, filed a lawsuit against Square, Inc. The lawsuit claimed that Square, Inc was withholding thousands of dollars from the nonprofit corporation. The case was dismissed with prejudice on March 15, 2012.
Square's support is handled via email, YouTube videos, a Twitter feed (@SqSupport), and an online help center. Square does not offer phone support for customers, including for emergency situations. Once criticized for delays in dealing with customer problems, its current turnaround time to customer inquiries is less than 24 hours.
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- Title: CALIFORNIA HERBAL RELIEF CENTER VS. SQUARE, INC et al, Superior Court of San Francisco County
Talk 10:39, 27 Jamuary 2013 (UTC)