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Sunday, February 07, 2010


How credit cards or food stamps might be used at the Farmers Markets

by Larry Geller

Wouldn’t it be great if food stamp users could buy healthy, freshly picked produce at the Farmers Markets?

The technology is here now. A startup called Square is taking credit card payments already, with no startup fee and no hardware cost. At present, an iPhone is needed, but they promise more connectivity options in the future. Yes, it works through a cell phone.

Watch this video. The sound is poor at first, but it gets better when they demonstrate the unit. Basically, you’ll see a little gizmo that plugs into the iPhone. The card is swiped through the gizmo, then the user signs with a finger on the touch screen. The gizmo is free to the merchant. Cool!

The upstart startup is being treated quite seriously by the industry. Leader Verifone has come up with a version of its own, but there are startup and monthly costs. Still, this validates the new technology.

Anyone can take payments. A merchant account is not necessary with Square. Their website explains how it works.

Square has not replied to my inquiry on whether they process food stamp cards or not. I’ll keep after them.


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