Square

Sarah Mishkin

Square, the payments processing start-up, is looking for new users for its credit card device among the US’s growing Latino community.

The company, co-founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is today unveiling Spanish language support and software in hopes of tapping into the purchasing power of America’s more than 50m Latinos. Read more

Getty Images

There’s an interesting note on François-Henri Pinault’s official bio page on the Kering website.Aafter a the usual title/school/professional background stuff, the last line is: “He takes a personal and professional interest in sustainability and the development of e-business.”

It’s the last bit that struck me, given that on Tuesday M Pinault (left, with wife Salma Hayek), through his holding company Artemis became a meaningful investor in Square, the mobile payments company started by Twitter guy Jack Dorsey.

M Pinault was staying mum about the private share purchase, but it makes sense to me on many levels, besides the obvious one above. And I think it may hint at some tantalising possibilities for the future. (Tantalising to speculate on, anyway.)

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If you’re wondering why Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square hasn’t launched in Europe, here’s one possible answer. The market is just too competitive.

Already several European companies do what Square does – allowing small businesses to process card payments without a monthly contract. They are now engaging in a price war, ripping up the 2.75 per cent transaction fee that Square made standard. Read more

Mobile payment system
On a bright morning at the ultra-hip Sightglass Coffee shop in San Francisco this week, Brad Miller, a healthcare technology consultant, is in need of a cappuccino.

By the time he reaches the counter, his picture has magically appeared on the iPad the shop uses as its payment terminal. The assistant identifies him by his photo and taps the screen to confirm a sale, and Mr Miller picks up his beverage. As he walks out, a receipt drops on to his iPhone.

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Are smartphones about to swallow the payments business? Two events this week have given sharply contradictory answers.

The first was the $3.25bn valuation put on Square , a Silicon Valley payments start-up, by the company’s latest round of fundraising. This represents a huge bet, given that Square is a business with annualised revenues of only about $200m that is battling with the giants of the banking, retail and mobile industries.

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Maija Palmer

Coffee and techies go together like donuts and policemen, one the voracious consumer of the other. They have named programming languages after the stuff.  And so the alliance between Starbucks and Jack Dorsey’s Square mobile payments start-up seems quite natural.

Starbucks has never been shy of experimenting with technology, having been one of the first US coffee shop chains to offer customers free wi-fi access. Starbucks also has its  own mobile app, which allows customers to pay for their coffees using a phone. Although these mobile payments are still just a tiny fraction of overall revenues, it is considered one of the most successful mobile payments systems in use so far.  Read more

Tech news from around the web:

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has made a ‘multimillion-dollar’ investment in mobile payment start-up company Square, a spokesperson for the company has told Reuters. The move  follows a $100m investment led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and an injection by credit card company Visa.

Adobe Systems is said to be scrapping its move to bring its Flash Player software to smartphones and tablets, CNET reports. The Flash browser plug-in is widely used on personal computers but has so far only reached a fraction of the mobile phone market.  Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Carphone Warehouse co-founder Charles Dunstone and Index Ventures have invested €8.2m ($11.2m) in iZettle, Europe’s answer to mobile-payment firm Square.

Sweden’s iZettle operates a payment system for small or nomadic merchants – be they market traders, window cleaners or conference-goers – through a card reader that attaches to the bottom of an iPhone. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Facebook is updating its photo viewer,  ZDNet reports. Facebook Photos will look cleaner, easier to view and bigger.

The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal reports that the mobile payment service, Square, is growing through out the US. Data from the company shows that “just about every major city and plenty of smaller places have someone using the device”. Read more

Joseph Menn

The Square personal commerce system, which allows iPhone and iPad users to accept credit cards, could also make it easy for people to convert stolen credit card information into cash, security researchers said on Thursday. Read more