Mobile workers aren't just traveling to conferences and meetings-- some are also harnessing smart devices to set up cash registers in just about any location. Many service providers have emerged to provide ad hoc points of sale, and Square is one of the most visible players in this growing space.
A free service, Square Register can be installed on Android and iOS devices. After you sign up, the company will send you a free card reader dongle to complete the account registration process. From there, you're ready to turn any on-the-go conversation into a possible sales opportunity.
The service backs up data to Square's servers in the cloud, so a lost device doesn't mean lost business. Encryption kicks in as soon as a card is swiped. Analytics tools are available for the iPad version, with somewhat stripped-down capabilities accessible on the phone-based offerings. Though accounts can be established for free, transactions fees still apply. These are somewhat flexible, however; users can choose to pay either 2.75% of every purchase or a flat fee of $275 per month.
Competing services are popping up all the time, but Square has been aggressive in forging partnerships. The tool has always been an equalizer for SMBs but recent unions show that the company has aims for bigger enterprises as well. A deal with NetSuite, for example, pairs Square Register with the NetSuite cloud commerce offerings. A recent investment from Starbucks, meanwhile, could hasten the shift from traditional payment methods to purely electronic ones. It could also portend other large business embracing the appeal of mobile, cashless transactions.