Perhaps the most heavily disrupted, at least from the consumer and small business perspectives, element of fintech has been payments. The stranglehold banks have had on how money is collected and moved remains strong but a number of new players have begun to edge in. One of the big players in that disruption is Square. Today, they have released their new Square Stand - a $299 device that works out-of-the-box to convert an iPad into a full point-of-sale system.
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It's getting easier and easier to set up a low cost point of sale system. With tablets and smartphones delivering apps that can integrate wth finance and stock control systems, it's possible to roll your own PoS easily. And payment services now mean you can skip the bank when looking for an EFTPOS terminal. From today, Vodafone will be selling the Square Reader for just $5 when bundled with selected mobile plans.
One of the things that used to be difficult for small businesses was accessing payment system. Typically, you were locked in with your bank and slugged with the cost of a payment terminal that you then needed to integrate with your point of sale system. That's changed as a result of new mobile-enabled payment systems and the new API economy while allows all sorts of systems to access payments and other systems. Square is leveraging all this as they launch a one-stop shop offering a suite of third-party point-of-sale (POS) hardware and accessories.
The Square Reader is a tiny chip card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of any smartphone or tablet, allowing users to take credit card payments right from their own devices. It's been on the Australian market for 12 months now -- but in this time has built up a strong customer base of over 60,000 small businesses across the country, despite tough competition from CommBank's own Albert POS device.
How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Ben Pfisterer from Square.