The iPhone as a Cash Register

Card readers that plug into smartphones, made by Square and others, are bringing new sales to small merchants

Last year, Mark Pastore wanted to expand his cured meats business, Boccalone, beyond the exposed-brick confines of its store in San Francisco's Ferry Building. When he began trucking salamis and sausages to farmers markets around the Bay Area on weekends, accepting credit cards was a hassle that involved entering customers' numbers manually into his cell phone. So last October he started using Square, a matchbook-size credit-card reader that plugs into his iPhone and automates the entire process. "It's like a virtual cash register," says Pastore, noting that the outdoor operation helped put his four-year-old business over $1 million in sales last year and may account for 10 percent of revenue in 2011.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.