Square unveils terminal as a better way to pay

Square is making it even easier to pay at small businesses with a new piece of hardware called Terminal. We talk to CEO Jack Dorsey about the new system.

Paying for purchases has never been easier, or more complicated.

There’s tap to pay, swipe to pay, tap or swipe with a pin, mobile payments and more.

Making matters worse, there’s no guarantee a merchant will accept the way you want to pay!

Once again, Square wants to change that.

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I met up with CEO Jack Dorsey – the same guy who started Twitter – in the hip Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco to talk about the company’s latest product: Square Terminal.

“Our philosophy has always been it doesn’t matter which device comes across the counter… you should always be set up to make the sale,” explained Dorsey.

Back in 2010, Square made it easy for anyone to accept credit cards through a simple reader attached to their phone. Now, their latest target? Those “black boxes that look like they barely work and they have those grungy keypads,” said Dorsey.

Even the newest payment terminals at big-name retailers still seem antiquated, with their LCD screens, tiny fonts and confusing array of buttons.

Square is introducing a $400 dollar device called Terminal. It looks like an iPhone housed in a plastic container. The device has an elegant design, large touch screen and can accept all the ways we pay today – including swipes, chips and the tap of a phone or watch. Although many Square customers opt for emailed receipts, there is even a little receipt printer built into Terminal.

We talked with several businesses in the area who have been secretly beta testing the device.

“It’s just easy, just put the price in, hand it to them and they just take over from there,” explained Cat, a manager at the Edo Salon.

We purchased some hairspray in seconds, then rummaged through old vinyls at a nearby record store.

Dorsey told me he prefers paying by tapping his Apple Watch, but customers should feel free to pay using any method they want – even if that’s cash.

In the end, a more pleasant – and accommodating – payment process is good for both sides of the transaction.

“I hope that our hardware and software takes a little bit of the burden off. One less thing you have to think about,” concluded Dorsey.