It's easy to imagine some things of our not-so-distant past — land phones, Myspace, headgear — being studied in history courses or ending up as set pieces in period theme parks. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's new(ish) venture Square, headquartered in the Chronicle Building in SoMa, may soon add cash registers to that list. The company is moving towards a near billion dollar funding round and its Square Credit Card Readers now process more than $3 million per day in mobile payments. The Card Readers fit into mobile devices to allow merchants to process credit card transactions (Square makes money by charging 2.75 percent per transaction fee) on-the-go or without a register.
And just last month at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, Square revealed the latest in their register-busting product fleet, The Square Register for the iPad, which is currently being used by 14 "beta" merchants around San Francisco, and the Square Card Case for consumers, which is essentially a virtual wallet. After a first credit card swipe, participating merchants can send customers a link to download the Square Card Case app (for both iPhone and Android), which allows you to open a "tab" at a vendor and then pay straight from your phone for all future purchases. They'll send you a receipt via mobile text to approve, which will then go into your payment history at the vendor. You can even check out vendors' menus, see their current trending items, and use the app's geo-locating "explore" feature to track down food trucks in your area so you don't have to rely on Twitter for their whereabouts. Soon, they're looking to roll out a pre-ordering feature — something you could use to say, order a morning bun from Tartine Bakery from two blocks away.
All the 14 participating San Franciscop beta merchants are either coffee spots or bakeries. But Square is looking to make its payment system the go-to for all businesses, essentially moving to make cash registers obsolete. Give it a whirl at Sightglass Coffee (where Dorsey is also an investor), Mission Minis, Smitten Ice Cream, Showplace Caffe, Pinkie's Bakery, Pepples Donuts, Devil's Teeth Baking Company, Satori Tea Company, Remedy Coffee, El Porteno, Cafe Yesterday, Grand Coffee, Caffe La Stazione and Cinnaholic and welcome yourself to the future.