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Emerging Payments

Square Unveils All-in-One Point-of-Sale Hardware for Merchants

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Square Inc. is introducing hardware designed to work with its mobile-payment software, seeking to replace cash registers by companies including NCR Corp. and stepping up competition with eBay Inc. and Intuit Inc.

“Business in a Box,” which Square is introducing today, includes two credit-card readers, a cash drawer, an iPad stand and an optional receipt printer, Jesse Dorogusker, a vice president at Square, said in an interview yesterday. The ensemble costs $599, or $299 excluding the printer.

San Franciso-based Square began selling a stamp-sized credit-card reader in 2009 that lets merchants accept payments on the go, and now competes with devices by Intuit and eBay’s PayPal. Square’s new hardware, which makes it easier for merchants to handle cash transactions, is similar to Intuit products, including a barcode scanner, that sell for about $600.

“Cash is not dead -- people need a cash drawer to run their business,” said Dorogusker, who oversees Square Register, the company’s point-of-sale software that lets businesses keep track of daily sales and compile analytics. “We weren’t going that full step and saying here’s everything you need, it’s in a box, click, pay, it shows up on your doorstep.”

Founded by Twitter Inc. Chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square offers a flat fee of 2.75 percent for credit-card swipes or a monthly fee of $275, and free software. In addition to smaller merchants such as food trucks and mom-and-pop retailers, Square has tied up with companies such as Starbucks Corp.

More than 3 million merchants used Square’s card reader to process $10 billion in payments on an annualized basis in January, the company said. While PayPal has 123 million registered accounts, it hasn’t said how many of those are using the mobile card reader that competes with Square.

Square has seen an uptick in larger businesses signing onto its services over the past six months. Revenue from merchants with multiple accounts, which usually means they have more than one employee or store, has increased sevenfold in that period, Dorogusker said.

Juniper Research estimates that the market for mobile payments for physical goods may top $170 billion in transactions by 2015, up from about $60 billion in 2011.

Square’s agreement with Starbucks last year introduced mobile-payments in 7,000 stores. Starbucks invested $25 million in Square, and the coffee chain’s chief executive officer, Howard Schultz, joined the mobile payment company’s board.

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