Fast-growing credit card processor Square debuted their latest hardware offering today — a stand that turns an iPad into a Square-powered cash register. We offer kudos to Square for recognizing where and how people were using their products, though not, like, too many of them. After all, that’s what any sensible company would do, and considering there are plenty of third parties already offering stands for this purpose, Square seems a little late to their own party on this one.
Of course, Square’s own stand does come with the advantage of having the Square swiper built in, and not for nothing, but it’s rather aesthetically pleasing, too. That simple fact can mean a lot to the small boutiques, cafes, and other shops — often just one or two person operations — that turn to Square for credit card processing on the cheap. A stand that gives a small business owner’s iPad the look of a proper register sends a message of professionalism that’s lacking in Square’s utilitarian white plastic dongle. It also makes it easier for small businesses to connect peripherals like cash drawers and receipt printers to the device, turning an iPad into a fully fledged cash register as well as a jukebox, way to send emails to vendors, and pretty much every other tool you really need to run a small business is something with plenty of appeal to plenty of folks.
Speaking as someone who was worked in his share of bars, cafes, and restaurants, there’s even more practical appeal to the stand. After all, the same folks who will grab your barista’s tip jar and bolt with it — they are, sadly, legion — may not be too shy about scampering off with an iPad-cum-cash register that’s just laying around on the counter, either. The Square Stand locks an iPad into its frame, and can be locked to the counter in turn, ensuring that the cash register stays exactly where it belongs.
Of course, that style and security comes at a price — in this case, $299, compared to the standard Square dongle we’ve all come to…well, maybe not love, but at least be pretty familiar with.
With that in mind, a proper stand would only have to act as a deterrent once to be worth the price of admission and then some, and more upscale small businesses like clothing stores may be willing to part with a little more dough up front for a slightly classier register that’s still helping them save money in the long run by slashing the fees they pay to credit card companies. Certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea to us.
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