Slideshow In Pictures: Square's Efforts to Smooth Its Rough Edges

Published
  • May 16 2014, 3:43pm EDT

Square has added and removed many features over its few short years as it refines its mobile-pay pitch in an effort to win more merchants. Its removal of the Square Wallet app was the latest of many revisions to the company's strategy.

Encryption

Square's launch hit a nerve with the terminal maker VeriFone, which was readying a similar device called Payware Mobile (pictured). VeriFone went so far as to put up a website in the style of a political ad, attacking its opponent for lacking encryption. Square weathered the attack – but it still saw fit to add encryption shortly thereafter.

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Square Wallet 2.0

The Square app was once called Card Case, and this early version was basically a virtual wallet filled with digital versions of linked payment cards. The app became Pay with Square in early 2012, when it was redesigned to put Square merchants at the forefront.

Square Wallet 3.0

Square gave its app another makeover last year in an effort to make the cloud-based wallet more appealing to consumers. The changes were mostly cosmetic, making merchant photos and loyalty programs easier to view on a smartphone's small screen.

Sayonara, Square Wallet

Square's most recent and drastic change was to eliminate Square Wallet from the Apple and Google app stores. The long-running mobile wallet was axed to make room for a new app called Square Order, which emphasizes ordering ahead of a visit to a merchant instead of making a cloud-based payment after entering the store. (Image: ShutterStock)

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Breaking Up the Box

The disappearance of Square's $299 "Business in a Box" bundle signaled a change in the company's strategy. The bundle, which included a cash drawer, a bar code scanner and a receipt printer, was aimed at larger merchants but contained Square's pocket-sized card readers, which are a better fit for babysitters and gardeners. Instead, Square now sells these items as add-ons for its Square Stand, an iPad case meant to be affixed to a store's counter. (Image: ShutterStock)

A Pass on Passbook

Square attempted to integrate with Apple's Passbook app in late 2012 by introducing a digital gift card service, but Square shut down the service roughly half a year later. Several merchants had problems redeeming the gift cards and Square itself may have had issues with state gift card regulations, according to Reuters. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Fee Refinement

Square has modified its fees several times. In 2011 it eliminated a 15-cent per-transaction fee, and in 2012 it introduced an optional monthly flat rate. The flat rate went away this year after merchants found that pricing model too limiting. Square's latest attempt to earn more than its standard 2.75% swipe fee is based on add-on services such as Pickup (an order-ahead service) and Feedback (an interactive receipt, pictured).

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Packing More Power

The selling point for Square's updated reader (pictured), unveiled in December, was its thinness. But under the hood it contained a number of updates to make it easier to use, such as a built-in battery (so that it no longer draws power from the user's phone) and a custom magnetic readhead and spring.