I’ve been keeping my eye on Square, a potentially disruptive innovation in the financial services space. Imagine, for a second, if any individual or small business could accept credit cards for any product or service at any time in any place. That’s what Square is making possible for smart phones and the new Apple iPad.
Remember the “long tail” from Chris Anderson of Wired? Well, there’s a long tail to credit card payments as well. This long tail is comprised of all the daily micro-transactions that people usually handle by cash or some form of plastic card (debit cards, gift cards, prepaid cards).
By tapping into the “long tail” of micro-transactions, Square hopes to address an underserved market niche. Quite simply, any individual would be able to accept a credit card at the point-of-sale. Individuals selling physical goods within a community such as Craigslist or Etsy would be able to accept credit cards in their homes. Small businesses could empower their mobile sales staffs to accept credit cards anywhere they are in the world. Independent coffee cart vendors could accept credit cards for your morning latte. Political candidates and charity fundraisers would be able to collect micro-donations at any grassroots event. Traveling musicians, coaches and tutors, and groups of friends making micro-payments to each other for group purchases (e.g. splitting the cost of an outing) are all possible users of Square.
[video: Welcome to Square]