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Does Main Street Need Another Payments System?

Does Main Street Need Another Payments System?
Photograph by GDA via AP Photo

EBay’s PayPal, Groupon’s Breadcrumb POS, and Square are vying to reimagine the cash register for Main Street merchants. Boston-based startup Punchey is launching a new payments system today to join the competition.

Founded in 2011 by Nathaniel Stevens, who previously founded local online marketing company Yodle, the 20-employee company has been testing Punchey with 500 businesses for the better part of the year. Like some of its competitors, the system is built around a credit-card reader that plugs into merchants’ smartphones. Stevens says Punchey, which was seeded in part with $1.7 million from his venture capital firm, stands out in two main ways: It charges users less and it helps them with their marketing.