Square, Inc.
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Square, Inc.
Square, Inc.
Square, Inc. logo.svg
Type of business Public
Traded as NYSESQ[1]
Founded February 2009; 9 years ago (2009-02)
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.[2]
Area served United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom
Founder(s) Jack Dorsey
Jim McKelvey
Key people

Industry Mobile Payment, Point of sale, Financial services
Products Point of Sale, Market, Cash, Capital, Feedback, Reader, Stand, Register
Website squareup.com
Alexa rank Positive decrease 2,155 (February 2016)[3]
Launched May 11, 2010; 7 years ago (2010-05-11)
Native client(s) on iPad, iPhone, Android

Square, Inc. is a financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company based in San Francisco, California. The company markets several software and hardware payments products, including Square Contactless and Chip Reader, Square Stand, Square Register and Square Magstripe Reader, and has expanded into small business services such as Square Capital, a financing program, Cash App, a person-to-person payments service, Appointments, Gift Cards/eGift Cards, Invoices, Virtual Terminal, Marketing, Loyalty, Employee Management, and Square Payroll. The company was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey and launched its first app and service in 2010. It has been traded as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange since November 2015 with the ticker symbol SQ.

Square Register allows individuals and merchants in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom, to accept offline debit[discuss] and credit cards on their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet computer. The application software ("app") supports manually entering the card details, swiping the card through the audio jack-connected Square Reader, or inserting or tapping the card using the Bluetooth LE-connected Square Chip and Contactless Reader. On the iPad version of the Square Register app, the interface resembles a traditional cash register.



The original inspiration for Square occurred to Jack Dorsey in 2009 when Jim McKelvey (a St. Louis friend of Dorsey at the time) was unable to complete a $2,000 sale of his glass faucets and fittings because he could not accept credit cards.[4]

The name "Square" derives from the company's square-shaped card readers. The name also refers to "squaring up," an idiom for settling debts. Several other names for the company were considered, including Squirrel, Stash, and Wallet. The name Squirrel was used during a meeting the company had with Apple's Scott Forstall, SVP of iPhone Software, wherein Dorsey saw that the Apple cafe's point-of-sale system was provided by a company called "Squirrel Systems," and decided to change the name.[5][6]. Part of the process of finding the name was literally looking up the word squirrel in a dictionary and talking about other words on the page.



Square Reader

In 2010 the Square device communicated with the Square app through the phone's audio-jack.

The Square Reader was the first product released by Square. It is used to accept credit card payments by connecting to a mobile device's audio jack. Square's original reader consisted of a simple read head directly wired to a 3.5 mm audio jack, through which unencrypted, analogue card information was fed to smartphones for amplification and digitization.[7] Square's technology is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI) compliant and Verisign certified.[8]

In April 2011, rival payment company Verifone claimed that the Square system at the time was insecure, and that a "reasonably-skilled" programmer could write a replacement app which could conceivably use the Square device to skim a credit card and return its details, because the first-generation Square Reader did not encrypt track data in hardware. VeriFone posted a demonstration video and sample skimming app to its web site.[9] Dorsey called VeriFone's claims "neither fair nor accurate", noted that the card data could be gathered visually from the card, and said that the claims ignored the fraud protection provided by card issuers.[10]

Square now uses strong encryption on its devices, including SSL and PGP.[8] Its cryptographic keys are at least 2048 bits in length.[8] Card numbers, magnetic stripe data, or security codes are not stored on Square client devices.[8] Square follows the guidelines issued by OWASP.[8]

In July 2014, Square announced a card reader that would accept chip cards and contactless cards, ahead of the October 2015 EMV liability shift. This new reader supports chip-and-signature and contactless transactions, and the standard Square Reader is also provided in order to support traditional magnetic stripe card transactions.[11]

In June 2015 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced Square will release a new Square Reader capable of accepting Apple Pay and other contactless payments.[12] The reader will also be able to accept EMV chip cards.

Square Stand

Square Stand at a coffee shop turned around for the customer to choose a tipping option

In June 2013, Square unveiled Square Stand. Square Stand aims to turn the Apple iPad into a more complete point of sale system. It makes use of a larger reader and a rotatable base that allows the stand to be swiveled around. Square Stand took more than a year to develop and the team of around 15 was led by Jesse Dorogusker, a former Apple director of engineering for iPhone, iPod, and iPad accessories at Apple.[13] The Square Stand works with iPad 2, iPad 3rd generation (30-pin connector), and iPad Air (lightning).

Square Register

In October 2017, a standalone point of sale system, Square Register, was announced for small to medium sized businesses.[14] The device consists of a merchant tablet and a customer tablet, with a built-in swipe, chip, and tap reader.[15]


Square Point of Sale

Square Point of Sale (formerly Register) is point of sale software aimed at replacing traditional credit card terminals and cash registers. Square Register combines payment processing with point-of-sale functionality like itemization and inventory management, and integrates with third-party platforms such as Shopventory, Weebly, and Bigcommerce via an App Marketplace.[16]

Square Cash

Square Cash allows person-to-person money transfer via the Square Cash app or e-mail. In March 2015, Square introduced Square Cash for businesses, which includes the ability for individuals, organizations, and business owners to use a unique username to send and receive money, known as a $cashtag.[17] In January 2018, Square Cash expanded to support bitcoin trading.[18]

Square Capital

In May 2014, Square launched Square Capital, which offers business financing to merchants using Square.[19] In contrast with a traditional loan, there is no time limit for a merchant to pay off a Square Capital cash advance. The merchant returns the advance to Square by paying back a percentage of their credit card sales over time.


On August 4, 2014, Square announced the acquisition of Caviar, a startup that delivers meals from high-end restaurants.[20] Caviar uses a fleet of couriers to provide delivery for popular restaurants who do not otherwise deliver.[21] Caviar is currently available in 18 markets in the U.S.[22] Users can order via the company's iOS or Android app,[23] or on Caviar's website.[24]

Caviar eventually replaced Square Order, an app which allowed users to make purchases in advance and pick them up at a predetermined time. In March 2015, Square announced that it was shutting down Square Order to focus on other efforts.[25]

Customer Engagement

In April 2015, Square launched Customer Engagement, a suite of CRM tools which includes email marketing services. These tools allow businesses to target customer audiences with customized or different messages and promotions based on actual (offline) purchase behavior.[26]

Square Payroll

In June 2015, Square launched Square Payroll, a tool for small business owners to process payroll for their employees. The product, currently available in Alaska, California, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and New Hampshire, automatically handles a business' withholdings, payroll payments, and tax filings.[27]

Software Products

Payments, Point of Sale, Dashboard, Analytics, Deposits, Invoices, Gift Cards, E-commerce, Appointments, Payroll, Employee Management, Location Management, Inventory, Customer Engagement, App Marketplace, Developer APIs, Capital, Caviar, Cash


Square received angel investments from Marissa Mayer, Kevin Rose, Biz Stone, Dennis Crowley, Shawn Fanning, MC Hammer, and Esther Dyson.[28] Since then, it has raised several additional rounds of funding:

The company's valuation in October 2014 was $6 billion.[31]

On November 19, 2015, Square had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange with an initial valuation of $2.9 billion, down by more than half from its last valuation in October 2014 at $6 billion. Although the firm has yet to make a profit and has lost $420 million since 2012, it has decreased its losses from 44% of revenues to 16% in the 6 months leading up to its IPO. [32]



Square was co-founded by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey.[33] Dorsey also serves as chief executive officer and Sarah Friar serves as chief financial officer.[33]

Square's office is located at 1455 Market Street, Suite 600 in San Francisco.[34] Square has more than 1000 employees.[29]

Square has been available in the United States since 2010 and became international when the company launched in Canada at the end of 2012.[35] In May 2013, Square announced that its mobile payments service was available in Japan after agreeing to a partnership with Sumitomo Mitsui Card Corporation. The fee for transactions would be 3.25% in Japan.[36] Square launched in the UK in 2017.[37]

Square's Board of Directors includes Dorsey, McKelvey, Roelof Botha, Vinod Khosla, Mary Meeker, former US Treasury Secretary and Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, former CFO of Goldman Sachs David Viniar, and businessman and NBA hall-of-famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson.[38]

Business model

As of March 2013, Square provides its magnetic stripe card readers to users for free.[39] Square charges $99 for Square Stand and $29 for its chip-based Square Reader.[40] The Square app is also freely downloadable from the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Square charges a fee of 2.75% on every credit card transaction.[41] Square does not have any additional fees beyond the 2.75% per swipe (or the 3.50% plus $0.15 cost per manually-entered transaction) and there are no monthly fees or set-up costs. Square claims that its costs are, on average, lower than the costs charged by the conventional credit card processors.[42] Square is regarded as a useful app for entrepreneurs, including, for example, consultants, food truck operators, and traditional retailers.[43] Swiped payments are deposited directly into a user's bank account within 1 or 2 business days. In some instances, Square may withhold payments to its users pending issues related to chargebacks.[44]

Square also generates revenue from selling other services to businesses, including subscription-based products such as Customer Engagement, Square Payroll, and Square Register. For example, with Square Payroll, Square charges sellers a monthly fee of $20 and $5 for each employee paid.[45]


At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in May 2011, Square announced the release of two new apps, Square Card Case (later rebranded as Square Wallet[46]) and Square Register. Square Wallet, before it was removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in 2014, allowed customers to set up a tab and pay for their order by providing their name (or a barcode) using a stored credit, debit, or gift card.

In August 2012, Starbucks announced it would use Square to process transactions with customers who pay via debit or credit card. In February 2014, Whole Foods Market announced it would use Square Register in select stores' sandwich counters, pizzerias and coffee, juice, wine and beer bars.[47]

In July 2013, Square launched Square Market, which allows sellers to create a free online storefront with online payment processing functionality.[48] In March 2014, Square announced it will start allowing sellers to accept bitcoin on their own storefronts through Square Market. The seller will take no risk on bitcoin value fluctuations.[49]

In August 2014, Square secured an investment from Victory Park Capital, an asset management firm, to extend "hundreds of millions of dollars" to small businesses via Square Capital.[50] In May 2015, Square secured additional outside investments for Square Capital, with Victory Park Capital tripling its initial investment.[51] In its 2016 third quarter earnings report, Square reported that it had loaned $1 billion to companies through Square Capital since the program's inception.[52] In October 2015, Square Inc. filed an IPO to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.[53] Shares were priced at $9 on November 18, 2015, and on November 19, 2015 Square officially began trading. [54]


In the media

Business Insider praised the product for its "ease of use, simplicity and elegance". Business Insider favorably compared Jack Dorsey with Steve Jobs for what they call his "entrepreneurial vision and charisma".[55][56] The Next Web praised Square's website squareup.com for its design and aesthetic appeal.[57] The product was also showcased at Apple's iPad 2 event.[58]GigaOM called the product a disruptive innovation.[59]

Customer feedback

Most complaints emerge from an unsatisfying customer support.[60][61] The main reason for inquiries originate from suspended accounts with money on the hold due to alleged illegal business which infringes against Square's terms. The website cardpaymentoptions.com states that "[t]he majority of the complaints fall into three areas: virtually nonexistent phone support, misunderstanding and nondisclosure of its former $2,002 card-not-present deposit hold policy, and reports of random fund holding or account deactivation exceeding 30 days with no explanation or communication from Square."[62]

Banned transactions

In May 2013, Square announced it would no longer allow firearms-related transactions to be performed using its devices or software. The company amended the terms of service for retailers to ban sales of "firearms, firearm parts or hardware, and ammunition; or ... weapons and other devices designed to cause physical injury". The company denied that this move was related to the increased debate over gun control.[63]

See also


  1. ^ "Wall Street Breakfast: Square, Match Group Ready For Market Debut". Seeking Alpha. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  2. ^ "Inside Square's Massive New San Francisco Headquarters". Mashable. October 11, 2013. Retrieved 2015. 
  3. ^ "Squareup.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016. 
  4. ^ "Square Brings Credit Card Swiping to the Mobile Masses, Starting Today". Fast Company. May 11, 2010. Retrieved 2011. 
  5. ^ "Square's name and design were changed by a lunch at Apple". thenextweb.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  6. ^ "Square Was Almost Named Squirrel Until Dorsey Talked To Apple". pulse2.com. May 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  7. ^ "Inside the Square Reader". Protean Payment. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Square - Security". Squareup.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  9. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (March 9, 2011). "Square's mobile credit card reader easily hacked, says VeriFone". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011. 
  10. ^ Olivarez-Giles, Nathan (March 10, 2011). "Square answers VeriFone's accusations on security of mobile credit card reader". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011. 
  11. ^ Marcus Wohlsen (July 30, 2014). "Square Bets Big on Next-Gen Credit Card Tech". Wired. 
  12. ^ Natt Garun (June 8, 2015). "Square will launch its Apple Pay-compatible wireless reader this fall". Next Web. 
  13. ^ Terdiman, Daniel. "At Square, an obsession with the 'magic' of hardware design", CNET, June 13, 2013.
  14. ^ Yurieff, Kaya (30 October 2017). "Square unveils cash register of the future". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017. 
  15. ^ Liao, Shannon (30 October 2017). "Square made its own payment register". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 2017. 
  16. ^ "Square Adds Inventory, Omnichannel Management To SMB App Marketplace". Geomarketing. June 3, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  17. ^ "Square Introduces Square Cash for Businesses, With a Low 1.5 Percent Processing Fee". Re/code. March 23, 2015. 
  18. ^ Tepper, Fitz. "Square Cash expands bitcoin buying and selling to all users". TechCrunch. Retrieved . 
  19. ^ "Square's cash advance: Don't call it a loan". CNN. May 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  20. ^ "Square orders in, buying food delivery startup Caviar". Fortune. August 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  21. ^ "Square Said to Be in Talks to Buy Food Delivery Start-Up Caviar". The New York Times. August 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  22. ^ "Caviar Heats Up Miami, Brings the Best Restaurants in the City Straight to Your Door with New Delivery Service" (Press release). Square. April 15, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  23. ^ "Caviar on Android". Google Play. Caviar. Retrieved 2015. 
  24. ^ "Caviar". Caviar Food Delivery. Caviar. Retrieved 2015. 
  25. ^ "Square is shutting down Square Order". VentureBeat. March 13, 2015. Retrieved 2014. 
  26. ^ Sterling, Greg (April 7, 2015). "Expanding Its Services, Square Launches Email Marketing With A Twist". Marketing Land. 
  27. ^ "Square feels your pain, debuts payroll service". San Francisco Business Times. June 30, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b c d "Square". crunchbase.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  29. ^ a b Square Inc. (December 18, 2014). "Square A milestone: We're now 1,000 employees strong". Linkedin.com. Retrieved 2014. 
  30. ^ Isaac, Mike (October 5, 2014). "Square Raises $150 Million at a $6 Billion Valuation". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ Rao, Leena (October 5, 2014). "Square Closes $150 Million Round At $6 Billion Valuation". Fortune. 
  32. ^ "Square's IPO: Swiped". The Economist. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  33. ^ a b "About Square". Square Inc. Retrieved 2011. 
  34. ^ Evangelista, Benny (October 14, 2013). "New offices give Square workers lots of options". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2014. 
  35. ^ Matt Hartley (October 24, 2012). "Square launches in Canada". Financial Post. Retrieved 2012. 
  36. ^ Davies, Chris (May 23, 2013). "Square mobile payments go live in Japan". Slash Gear. Retrieved 2013. 
  37. ^ David Grossman (2 January 2018). "Bank branch closures: How one town has coped". BBC News. Retrieved 2018. 
  38. ^ Jessica Guynn (June 17, 2015). "Square board scores Magic Johnson". USA Today. Retrieved 2015. 
  39. ^ "Free Credit Card Reader". Retrieved 2012. 
  40. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Square Eschews Free, Starts $29 Pre-Orders For Chip-Based Card Readers". Techcrunch. Retrieved 2014. 
  41. ^ "Square's Fees". Square. Square. Retrieved 2015. 
  42. ^ "Square - Pricing". Squareup.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  43. ^ Lesonsky, Rieva (July 25, 2012). "7 Essential Apps for Entrepreneurs". [dead link]
  44. ^ Fast deposits intoyour bank account. (June 25, 2013). "Square Merchant Agreement". Squareup.com. Retrieved 2013. 
  45. ^ Spector, Nicole. "Square Launches Payroll, Expanding Suite of Services for Small Businesses". Street Fight. Retrieved 2015. 
  46. ^ Harrison Weber (June 13, 2013). "Square Wallet for iPhone gets redesigned with a visually-driven UI and streamlined payments". The Next Web. Retrieved 2014. 
  47. ^ Whole Foods signs on to use Square
  48. ^ "Square Market". 
  49. ^ Protalinksi, Emil March 31, 2014. TheNextWeb "Square now lets sellers accept Bitcoin on their own storefronts"
  50. ^ "Square works with Victory Park Capital to extend hundreds of millions of dollars to independent businesses". victoryparkcapital.com. August 19, 2014. Retrieved 2015. [dead link]
  51. ^ "Square secures funding from new and existing investors to expand its popular small business financing program". squareup.com. May 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  52. ^ Yeung, Ken (1 November 2016). "Square has provided more than $1 billion in loans to businesses". Retrieved 2016. 
  53. ^ Soper, Alex Barinka alexbarinka Spencer. "Square Files for IPO as CEO Dorsey Juggles Twitter Revamp". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved . 
  54. ^ "Square shakes off weak IPO with first-day trading pop". New York Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  55. ^ Dan Frommer (June 7, 2011). "Jack Dorsey, Apple CEO? Probably Not". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  56. ^ "Is Jack Dorsey The New Steve Jobs?". simplyzesty.com. June 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  57. ^ "Function is nothing without beauty: 10 sites doing it right". thenextweb.com. July 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  58. ^ Rao, Leena (March 2, 2011). "Square Now Processing $1 Million In Mobile Payments Per Day". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  59. ^ "Jack Dorsey on Square, How It Works & Why It Disrupts". Gigaom.com. December 1, 2009. Retrieved 2011. 
  60. ^ "Square Review". merchantmaverick.com. August 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  61. ^ [1]"Square Review, Rates & Fees". cardfellow.com. November 11, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  62. ^ "Square Review". cardpaymentoptions.com. October 31, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  63. ^ Sperry, Todd (May 13, 2013). "Mobile-payment service Square blocks gun sales". CNN. Retrieved 2013. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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