Square Inc   (SQ)
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    Sector  Technology    Industry Software & Programming
   Industry Software & Programming
   Sector  Technology

Square Inc

Business Description

We started Square in February 2009 to enable businesses (sellers) to accept card payments, an important capability that was previously inaccessible to many businesses. However, sellers also need innovative solutions to thrive, and we have since expanded to provide additional products and services to give these businesses access to the same tools as large businesses. This approach aligns with our purpose of economic empowerment, as everything we do should give sellers accessible, affordable tools to grow their businesses and participate in the economy.

Square is a cohesive commerce ecosystem that helps our sellers start, run, and grow their businesses. We combine sophisticated software with affordable hardware to enable sellers to turn mobile and computing devices into powerful payment and point-of-sale solutions. We have high seller acceptance rates and fast onboarding, while maintaining low risk and fraud losses as a result of our approach to risk management that emphasizes data science and machine learning. We focus on technology and design to create products and services that are cohesive, fast, self-serve, and dependable. These attributes differentiate us in a fragmented industry that forces sellers to stitch together hardware, software, and payments services from multiple vendors.

The foundation of our ecosystem is a full service, managed payments offering. Once a seller downloads the Square Point of Sale mobile app, they can quickly and easily take their first payment, because we can typically bring them onto our system in minutes. With our offering, a seller can accept payments in person via magnetic stripe (a swipe), EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) (a dip), or NFC (Near Field Communication) (a tap); or online via Square Invoices, Square Virtual Terminal, or the seller’s website or app. Once on our system, sellers gain access to technology and features such as reporting and analytics, next-day settlements, digital receipts, payment dispute and chargeback management, security, and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. In the same way that we have empowered businesses with fast, simple, and cohesive tools, we see an opportunity with Cash App to build a similar ecosystem of services for individuals. Currently, our Cash App offers individuals access to a fast, easy way to send and receive money electronically to and from individuals and businesses. We also offer Cash App customers the ability to use their funds via a Visa debit card. We have also recently added functionality to Cash App to enable customers to buy and sell bitcoin.

Our commerce ecosystem also includes powerful point-of-sale software and services that help sellers make informed business decisions through the use of analytics and reporting. As a result, sellers can manage orders, inventory, locations, employees, and payroll; engage customers and grow their sales ; and gain access to business loans through our Square Capital service. We monetize these features through either a per transaction fee, a subscription fee, or a service fee. Some of these advanced point-of-sale features are broadly applicable to our seller base and include Employee Management and Customer Engagement. We have also extended our ecosystem to serve sellers with more specific needs. Our Build with Square developer platform (application programming interface or APIs) allows businesses with individualized needs to customize their business solutions, including integration with third-party applications, while processing payments on Square and taking advantage of all the services in our ecosystem. In addition, certain verticals, such as services and retail sellers, benefit from specific features such as Invoices, Appointments, and Square for Retail. We also serve sellers through Caviar, a food ordering service for pickup and delivery that helps restaurants reach new customers and increase sales without additional overhead.

The foundation of our ecosystem is a full service, managed payments offering. Sellers can onboard to Square in minutes and, once onboarded, accept payments in person via swipe, dip, or tap of a card; online via Square Virtual Terminal or the seller’s website or app; or through the Cash App. By paying a transparent transaction fee, sellers receive technology and features that allow them to manage the entire payment lifecycle, including reporting and analytics, next-day settlements (or instant settlement for an additional transaction fee via Instant Deposit), digital receipts, payment dispute and chargeback management, security, and PCI compliance.

Our affordable, custom-designed hardware can process all card payment forms, including magnetic stripe, EMV chip, and NFC technology. Sellers can accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover for one transaction fee. Additionally, sellers in Canada can accept Interac Flash, and sellers in Japan can accept JCB. Our hardware includes the following products:

Magstripe reader: Our magstripe reader enables swiped transactions of magnetic stripe cards by connecting with an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.

Contactless and chip reader: This reader accepts EMV chip cards and NFC payments, enabling acceptance via Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other mobile wallets. The reader connects wirelessly or via USB.

Chip card reader: Our chip card reader accepts EMV chip cards and enables swiped transactions of magnetic stripe cards by connecting with an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.

Square Stand: This hardware enables an iPad to be used as a payment terminal or full point of sale solution. It features an integrated magnetic stripe reader, provides power to a connected iPad, and can connect to the contactless and chip reader wirelessly or via USB. Square Stand also connects to various peripheral devices that brick-and-mortar businesses need, such as barcode scanners and receipt printers.

Square Register: During the fourth quarter of 2017, we launched Square Register, our first all-in-one offering that combines our hardware, point-of-sale software, and payments technology. Square Register does not require a third-party mobile phone or tablet, and it contains connections for Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a USB hub so sellers can integrate with peripheral devices. The dedicated hardware consists of two screens: a seller display and a customer display with a built-in card reader that accepts tap, dip, and swipe payments.

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