Slideshow 9 Micro Merchants with a Major Impact on Payments

  • August 29 2013, 4:25pm EDT

Any new payments technology is a gamble, and many major retailers refuse to take a risk on untested technology. But small merchants are usually more willing to experiment, and a few have bravely given new payments products their first big chance. (Image: ShutterStock)

Dram Apothecary

This Colorado establishment, designed with an 1880-90 antique theme, took a bet on Groupon's mobile card acceptance app, Breadcrumb POS. The bet paid off: Groupon's new offline redundancy mode, which allows merchants to accept payments for a short time if their wireless connection cuts out, came in handy when Dram Apothecary lost connectivity during its grand opening. Pictured: Owner and herbal alchemist Shae Whitney

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Birch Coffee

New York-based Birch Coffee was one of the first to use Square Market, an e-commerce website for users of the Square Register mobile payments app. The coffee shop, which switched over from Shopify, was swayed by Square's technical knowledge. "Everyone there is a techie," says Birch co-owner Jeremy Lyman. Pictured: Birch owners Paul Schlader (left) and Jeremy Lyman

Stomp Romp

This New Hampshire guitar shop participated in last year's Bitcoin Friday, a promotional event for merchants. And then it shut down — so that owners Zach and Josh Harvey could devote themselves to promoting Bitcoin full-time. They are in the final stages of delivering a machine that sells bitcoins in exchange for cash. Pictured: Zach Harvey at work in Stomp Romp

Fortunate Cup Coffee Café

Fortunate Cup was one of the first merchants to use Bling Nation Ltd.’s contactless payment stickers in 2010. Though Bling shut down a year later, its technology immediately improved the café's relationship with its bank. "They get to know me, I'm a little more familiar to them should I need to contact them for anything down the road," the café's owner said after installing Bling Nation's technology.

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Greedy Goat

Greedy Goat, a seller of goat's milk ice cream in London's Borough Market, was an early tester of the chip-and-PIN version of the PayPal Here mobile card reader. Since Borough Market is largely cash-based, Greedy Goat says it was prone to losing sales if shoppers spent all their cash before getting to its cart. Pictured: Greedy Goat's Craig Allen (Image: PayPal)

Rosie’s Café

The small café in Lowell, Mass. stopped accepting credit cards last year after it started using LevelUp, a QR code-based mobile payment app. In February, about 30% of its customers used LevelUp.


The Brooklyn-based bagel shop has implemented Belly, a mobile rewards and loyalty platform. Belly wants merchants and consumers to use mobile apps — which are harder to lose than paper tickets. (Image: ShutterStock)

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Companion Bakery

Companion Bakery was an early adopter of the Vibe mobile wallet, built by payments gateway provider FreedomPay. Companion Bakery is located in St. Louis, Mo., a smaller city that is more conducive to testing newer payments technology. (Image: ShutterStock)

DK's Donuts and Bakery

DK's Donuts and Bakery took some convincing. It considered Square's mobile card reader "a headache" because it required users to provide their own mobile device, cash drawer, receipt printer and other parts, says owner Sean Tao. "You'd have to go out of your way to make it work," he says. When Square started bundling these pieces together for its "Business in a Box," Tao changed his mind and became one of the product's first users. (Image: ShutterStock)