It feels like something big just happened with the launch of Square, the personal credit-card swiping system that’s integrated with iPhone and iPad. Suddenly, anybody can be a retailer that takes plastic.
Sure, you could sell your stuff previously on eBay, Etsy or any number of online marketplaces using the insufferable PayPal, but when it came to the real world, unless you had a merchant account with a credit card company, it was a cash-only experience.
That just changed with a little white cube with a magnetic strip reader that plugs into the iPhone or iPad. After a painless sign-up process, your iPhone now accepts VISA.
Micro-retailers will no doubt rejoice, but I’m thinking the interesting action just might occur in the private sphere. Did I loan you $20 last week? You can pay me back with plastic now. Do you have a side-business walking dogs? No need to collect (and worry about) checks from the customers — just swipe their card.
There’s a great commercial for the product here, with You Look Nice Today‘s Adam Lisagor playing it about as straight as I imagine he can. And as long as you have an iPhone or an iPad, you can sign up for free and the company will mail you a scanner-dongle, just as soon as they get through the backlog.