Square Inc., an early and successful contender in mobile-payment acceptance, has launched a new system that it says can replace a traditional cash register.

Square's earlier card reader was focused on small merchants, such as vendors at a farmer's market, that might not have the ability to use a full point of sale terminal.

In this way, the San Francisco-based company was attempting to fill a void in the market. Its new Square Register app instead takes aim at the established payment system–its promotional video even depicts a user removing an old, bulky cash register to make room for an Apple Inc. iPad.

The Square Register app, announced March 5, helps merchants track inventory and customer transactions (see site). It works with the same Square card reader that many merchants already use for basic card payments.

Over a short amount of time, Square built a strong following, even drawing an investment from Visa Inc. last year. And last week, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission agreed to test using Square's reader in 30 taxis (see story).

Square launched its original mobile card reader for the iPad in May 2010, just a month after the original iPad was released. The new Square Register app could similarly capitalize on the buzz surrounding the new iPad version Apple is expected to announce this week.

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