Square today unveiled a new piece of hardware designed to replace traditional cash registers in the businesses that use the company to accept payments. Square Stand, which can be pre-ordered for $299 starting today, features an integrated card reader for processing payments.
An iPad connects to the stand, and the payment software runs on iOS. The stand connects to receipt printers, barcode scanners and other peripherals. It will become available in July online and at traditional retailers including Best Buy.
Jack Dorsey, Square's co-founder and CEO, said the stand marked an improvement on clunky point-of-sale systems that have dominated sales counters for decades. Merchants are fed up with existing solutions, he said.
"They have to deal with these ugly systems that they don't know how to use," Dorsey said. "Nothing works together, nothing is seamless, nothing feels like it fits. It really takes away from their aesthetic. We thought we could do a lot better."
Until now, Square has attempted to disrupt the payments market by getting solo entrepreneurs and small businesses to adopt their card reader and payments software. The stand represents an effort to go after larger brick-and-mortar businesses, which tend to be much slower in adopting new technologies. It's unclear how many of them will be willing to toss out systems that have been established for decades in favor of a simple white stand connected to an iPad.
Bu the stand could eventually appear at Starbucks, which already accepts Square payments at more than 7,000 locations. Dorsey said he has already been in conversation with Howard Schultz, Starbuck's CEO, who sits on Square's board.
"He's been very, very excited about it," Dorsey said.
Square's second step into the hardware business
This is the second piece of hardware the company has introduced, following the iconic square card reader that allows merchants to accept payments via their smartphones and tablets.
The stand works with Square's Register application, which lets customers who have provided Square with credit-card their information to pay without bringing physical wallets into the establishment. It is compatible with iPad 2 and 3, but won't be available for iPads that use the Lightning connector until later this year.