Amazon takes on Square and PayPal Here with $10 iPhone/iPad cardreader & lower fees

Small businesses looking to take occasional card payments without paying monthly fees now have a third option as Amazon has launched Local Register to compete with Square and PayPal Here – as we predicted last month. The $10 card-reader is compatible with any iPhone from the iPhone 4 onward, as well as any iPad or iPad mini.

Amazon is undercutting both competitor services with a flat fee of 2.5 percent per transaction (vs 2.7 percent for PayPal Here and 2.75 percent for Square). Not enough? Amazon is sweetening the deal with a special introductory rate of 1.75 percent until the end of 2015, and will also credit the $10 cost of the cardreader in full against transaction fees …  Read more

Square announces new EMV chip reader for more secure mobile credit and debit card payments

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Today, Square announced a new version of its popular mobile payment system that will support EMV chipped credit cards. EMV is a joint effort from MasterCard and Visa to help improve security credit and debit card transactions and is set to become a standard in the US by October 2015. In addition to EMV-equipped credit cards, the new version of Square’s payment system will still feature support for legacy magnetic strips, so customers will still have the option to swipe and sign.

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Amazon apparently set to launch Square-competitor in August as it develops biometric payment solutions

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Amazon could be preparing to launch its own mobile credit card reading hardware in the coming weeks, according to internal Staples documents hinting at such a launch that we’ve obtained. According to the documents, Staples stores will prepare next month to stock a new product called the “Amazon Card Reader” alongside existing card readers from Square, PayPal, and Staples’ own in-house brand. The small hardware, which will likely connect to smartphones to process payments, will cost $9.99, according to the Staples internal sales systems…

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Square pulls its mobile payment app Wallet, focuses on SF and NYC with new Order app

Out with the old and in with the new. That’s how Square is starting the week as it pulls one app from the App Store and replaces it with another. Square Wallet, the commerce company’s not-so-popular mobile payment app, is no longer available on the App Store as the company begins to promote its new mobile payment app called Square Order.

Although Square Wallet boasted support for “thousands of neighborhood businesses” including a deal with Starbucks, it never really felt like its presence was really promoted nor was it more convenient than traditional payment methods. In the case of Starbucks, its support came after the coffee company’s own smartphone app included mobile payments including support for Apple’s Passbook system… Read more

Could Apple buy Square to accelerate its mobile payment plans?

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Re/code is reporting that both Apple and Google have considered making acquisition offers for payments company Square, with CEO Jack Dorsey said to favor a sale to Apple.

In the last year, both Apple and Google have considered making acquisition offers for Square, according to industry sources familiar with the situation [...]

[Dorsey] believes, sources said, that his company’s design aesthetic and values match up much more closely with Apple than Google …

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CES 2014: Griffin unveils new iOS & Mac accessories- StudioConnect HD, PowerMate Bluetooth, & GuitarSidekick for iPhone

Ahead of the official International CES 2014 show taking place next week in Las Vegas, tonight Griffin, alongside a number of other companies, debuted new products at the official CES Unveiled press event. We told you earlier about the company’s new Square card reader case (the first of Square’s partners for a new program that will see similar products released in the future), but Griffin also had other Apple related products on show tonight including new audio accessories, a bluetooth controller for Mac, and more.

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Square launches Square Cash, allowing money transfers between anyone through email

Square has just launched a new service called Square Cash, which allows quick money transfers between any two parties using through an email. Contrary to what you might be expecting, you don’t need to sign up or get all of your friends onto Square Cash to share funds. Instead, you just need to link a debit card to your account.

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Square announces new Square Stand hardware for iPad, now available for pre-order

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Square announced a new product called Square Stand for vendors using Square Register for iPad to process payments.

Square Stand features the familiar credit card reader that made Square so popular with smartphone and tablet owners. The stand looks to replace traditional POS cash registers by mounting an iPad in a stylish case that resembles Apple’s iMac desktop computers. Read more

Square announces POS ‘Business in a Box’ hardware package for iPad starting at $299 [video]

Mobile digital payment company Square announced today on its blog that it will begin selling a “Business in a Box” solution that will act as a full point-of-sale system for iPad-toting business owners. The hardware package starts at $299 and includes two Square Readers, a Heckler Design WindFall iPad Stand, and an APG Vasario 1616 Cash Drawer (as pictured above). For an extra $300, bringing the total price of the package to $599, Square will throw in a Star Micronics TSP143L Receipt Printer. We were able to find all the pieces of the package online (minus the free Square readers) for around $480, although that’s before any taxes or shipping costs.

Neighborhood merchants are increasingly adopting Square Register for its simple interface, smart analytics, continuous updates, and low processing fees. With Business in a Box for Square Register, merchants can now simplify their countertop with an affordable and comprehensive package that includes two Square Readers, an iPad stand, a cash drawer, and an optional receipt printer. All work wirelessly with Square Register.

Business owners can learn more about the “Business in a Box” package here. Video of how Almond Surfboards use Square register above.
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Square adds gifts cards/passbook support, Instagram, BBC News, British Airways, Snapheal, VLC Streamer, more

Square Passbook gift cardsSquare Register version 2.5: Square is rolling out Passbook compatible gift cards for local businesses that users of the Square Wallet iPhone app can purchase and share with friends. To welcome the new feature, Square’s Register app also gets an update with the ability to accept the new gift cards via Square Wallet, Passbook, or QR code, as well as iPhone 5 support:

- Accept gift cards for your business from Square Wallet, Passbook and printed QR codes.
– iPhone 5 support and various improvements.

Instagram: Instagram has released a pretty big update to its app this afternoon, adding a revamped camera and camera roll access. Additionally, there are new grids for easy photo taking, new filter access page, and the addition of Foursquare data.

  • Instagram-themed shutter & shutter release button.
  • A preview of the most recent photo on your camera roll.
  • Improved Camera Roll image selector (iPhone 5 only) for quick access to your last photograph.
  • Optional grid guide for live photos and a permanent grid guide for the scale & crop screen.
  • Speed and reliability improvements.

BBC News version 1.7.7: Official iPhone 5 support for the BBC News iOS app:

- iPhone 5 support
– bug fixes

British Airways version 4.0: A big update to the BA iPhone app brings a completely redesigned UI that provides easy access to upcoming flights from the My Flights screen, as well as improvements for retrieving bookings and alternative boarding pass options. The updated app is also now fully iPhone 5 and iOS 6 compatible.

We’ve completely redesigned the app to make it easier to access all your upcoming flights and to address a number of issues

Snapheal version 2.1: Snapheal for Mac received an update today that includes a new and improved UI, a new crop tool, a “new algorithm for image retouch and adjust,” and much more:

- Brand new look and improved user experience, including 1 click to erase objects, faster selection, better way to save and share images, etc.
– New crop tool
– New algorithm for image retouch and adjust: faster performance, better color processing
– Enhanced lasso tool
– Improved algorithms for erasing multiple objects
– New clone&stamp tool, with better customization of brush opacity and softness

Instamac version 1.1: The recently launched Instamac Instagram client for Mac receives a ton of UI refinements, full Retina display support for Retina MacBook Pros, improved slideshow features, and more.

-We’ve spent a lot of time going through each and every user interface element to make Instamac the most elegant Instagram Client for the Mac.

Dungeon Hunter 3 version 1.4.0: Read more

Angry Birds Seasons, Opera Mini, Square in Canada, Music Unlimited, more

Angry Birds Seasons version 2.3.0: Rovio updated its Seasons edition of Angry Birds with 30 new levels for Halloween and much more. The HD iPad version gets the same update.

BOO! The pigs are hiding in their spookiest location yet: a haunted house! The Angry Birds will have to brave ghosts and ghouls to get their eggs back — if they can survive the house first! Are your eyes playing tricks on you or did that painting just move?!

-Explore the scary secrets of the brand new haunted house!
-Try to survive 30 all new spooky levels!
-Shiver and shake to the ghostly new Halloween music!
-Use the brand new ghost bricks for fun trick shots!
-Say hello to Frankenswine and the other pigs, all dressed up for Halloween!

Square Register version 2.4: Square is officially rolling out its payment service internationally today with the Canadian launch and an updated Square Register iOS app. Full details in the company’s press release here.

- Square Register is now available in Canada!

Opera Mini version 7.0.5:

 – Integration with iOS Facebook framework (iOS 6+)
– Improved performance when saving large images
– Fixed freeze after sharing via email
– Fixed video playback on youtube.com (iPhone and iPod)
– Performance and stability fixes
– Added support for iOS 4.2.1
– Various iOS 6 related fixes

Music Unlimited version 1.2: The iOS app for Sony’s subscription music service gets a decent update today with the ability to “Create channels inspired by your favorite artists” and more:

· My Channels – Create channels inspired by your favorite artists.
· Playlist management – Create and edit playlists on your mobile device.
· Some features have been improved.

Lumify version 2.0: One of our favorite new social video apps gets a big update: Read more

Starbucks signs up for iPhone-based Square credit card/debit payments for nearly 7,000 stores

In an announcement on Square’s website today, CEO Jack Dorsey announced Starbucks signed up to accept payments from customers through the Pay with Square iOS app via Square’s iPhone credit card readers and merchant app. Dorsey also confirmed functionality would roll out to nearly 7,000 Starbucks locations soon, while Starbucks locations will be added to the Square Directory. The Square Directory will also soon be accessible from a number of Starbucks platforms including the Starbucks Digital Network and mobile payment app. Starbucks announced in its own press release that it would invest $25 million in Square, while Starbucks’ chairman, president, and CEO, Howard Schultz, will join Square’s board of directors. On top of credit cards, Starbucks will use Square to handle debit payments, which the company said would reduce overall payment processing costs.

Beginning this fall, in addition to the existing iPhone® and Android™ Starbucks mobile payment applications, Starbucks customers will be able to use Pay with Square to pay for their purchases at participating company operated Starbucks locations in the U.S. Customers simply need to download the Pay with Square application and set up an account on their iPhone® or Android™ device.

More than two-thirds of the 27 million small businesses in the U.S. currently do not accept credit or debit cards, in large part because of the expensive interchange fees associated with payment processing, cumbersome application process and required credit checks. Square enables merchants of any size – from sole proprietors to national retailers – to accept credit and debit cards.