Square: Fast Mover Focused on Experience
A year ago, when BS&T named Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and the Square mobile payments system, one of its Top 10 Innovators of the Decade, there was tremendous buzz around Square, but also questions about its staying power. A year later, Square's mobile card reader has been adopted by 2 million users -- ranging from Girl Scouts selling cookies to traditional retail stores -- and processes more than $6 billion in payments on an annualized basis, according to the San Francisco-based company.
Today's questions are less about Square's viability and more about who is going to challenge it. PayPal, which launched its own mobile payments service this past spring (see previous page), is the most prominent of several potential competitors. However, Square's flexibility -- it has made significant updates in its offerings in just a few years to accommodate changes in the mobile landscape, most notably the rise of the iPad, and also recently introduced a loyalty feature to boost retailer/ customer relationships -- and its emphasis on simplicity and a quality customer experience should combine to help it maintain its dominance and high profile. --K.B.