Square Concedes To Cash With New “Business In A Box” Offering

What's Next In Payments®
5:46 PM EST February 21st, 2013

“We pride ourselves on helping build the future of commerce, but we need to meet people where they are, and there are businesses whose customers want printed receipts. Cash isn’t dead just yet.”

Such were the words uttered by Jesse Dorogusker, vice president of register at Square, to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week in an interview Dorogusker gave on Square’s latest platform: Business In A Box.

Dorogusker’s words may seem innocuous at first, but according to this piece by Quartz, they acknowledge a reality that Square seems to have been dancing around for some time: cash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

As the first company to turn the swipe-and-dongle system of mobile card payments acceptance, Square has been hugely successful as a payments disruptor to this point in its young existence.  But despite the promising mobile payments numbers we saw in 2012, Square cannot ignore the power of cash if it wants to garner more mainstream acceptance.

As Quartz points out, the fact that Business In A Box comes with a cash drawer and a receipt printer – in addition to two Square readers and iPad stand – is “not a trivial development.” In fact, the piece argues that it signifies that Square is “growing up,” acknowledging that the cashless future that some predict is still a ways off.

Dorogusker admitted as much in his Wall Street Journal Interview.

“From the point of view of the merchants, what they want is to meet customers where they are, whether they have cash, credit cards or want Wallet. As we make Wallet not only a fun experience, but the fastest, it’ll be attractive to merchants,” Dorogusker said. “We’re not going to convince them that Wallet is better, it’s just going to become better and they will want to use it. We are building a futuristic way to pay, and at the same time we’re meeting people with the 180 million credit cards in their pockets.”

Many payments analysts are lauding that approach: looking towards the future of payments while acknowledging its present. The notion that “cash is dying” is a popular one, but as Market Platforms CEO Karen Webster points out in this piece, not really the case.

“Pundits have been predicting the demise of cash for the last 70 years,” Webster wrote. “As we have seen over the last 60 years or so, cash is still something we have in our wallets, use situationally, and frankly, like to have around. Will mobile phones make it more convenient for people to use their phones in places where they use cash today? Absolutely! Does it mean that over time, cash is going to be used less frequently by these people? Certainly.

Does it mean that these same people will never ever again use cash?  Absolutely not. “

What do you think about Square’s Business In A Box platform? Does it signify an admission that cash isn’t dead? Do you see merchants adopting the platform willingly? Let us know in the comments below! 

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