Photo: Owen Thomas
Square, the fast-growing payments startup based in San Francisco, is exploring a new way to get small businesses to dump their credit-card terminals and cash registers.It’s getting into the hardware business, COO Keith Rabois told Fortune.
“We are going to be doing a lot of hardware,” Rabois said.
Of course, Square’s already in the hardware business. Its iconic card reader, which turns an iPhone, iPad, or Android device into a credit-card swiper, is well-distributed in retail outlets from the Apple Store to RadioShack.
And as Business Insider exclusively reported last month, Square has started selling third-party cash drawers and receipt printers to small businesses.
It’s a tacit recognition that some businesses need more than just a tablet and a card reader to handle customers’ sales efficiently.
What’s currently on offer is far from the elegant solutions that Square CEO Jack Dorsey is fond of. When we pointed out to Rabois recently that the black, industrially functional cash drawer wasn’t that pretty, he suggested that businesses could hide it under a counter.
Right. It makes sense that Square is developing its own hardware designed to fit in with the sleek, minimalist look of its card reader and its apps.
Late last year, Square hired an eight-year veteran of Apple, Jesse Dorogusker, as its vice president of hardware.
In March, Square started rolling out special hardware for taxis, featuring an iPad encased in a black sleeve with an integrated credit-card swiper.
You can buy third-party solutions, like the bamboo Cashbox, which encases an iPad, a card reader, a cash drawer, and a receipt printer.
But according to Fortune, Square is reportedly looking at its own designs for industry-specific installations. With its extensive retail distribution network, it’s easy to see those ringing up sales.