The future of wireless transactions, and Square in particular, is bright, according to a recent GigaOmTech article. Square is a personal financial services company which processes transactions through its square piece of hardware and accompanying app. The small magnetic strip reader plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone or iPod Touch, enabling the user to accept credit card payments. The system targets small business owners rather than large merchants or companies. Think of roadside food stands, or home merchandise parties.
In the article, Square dismisses NFC, stating that it is emerging technology with no compelling apps. With Apple and other heavy hitters potentially developing NFC and NFC apps for the next gen iPhone, it seems odd that Square wouldn’t see it as a threat. They do have a point, that consumers will still have credit cards and wallets and use them for the forseeable future, or least until the infrastructure is in place to offer an attractive alternative to cash and/or credit cards. The future of the usability then becomes dependent not on the ever-evolving technology but the ablity to market and deliver a safe, reliable, cost-effective transaction system. In this sense, Square has an edge in offering lower cost transactions for the nearly 26 million merchants who may not be able to sustain merchant accounts through Visa or Mastercard. And they are prepared to integrate NFC in the future for marketing their niche in small business financial services.