You’ll soon be able to pay for your cab fare via an iPad embedded into the cab. The company that will be providing the credit card processing technology – and the iPads – is Square, an emerging leader in credit card acceptanced for small businesses. The company offers an iPhone/iPad peripheral that allows anyone with a bank account to accept instant credit card payments. And the start-up cost is free.
Of course, Square gets a cut on all charges, above and beyond the normal processing fee that’s paid to the credit card issuer. But it’s not that big of a cut. Square has gained a huge following among small businesses, and now it wants cab drivers to partake in the same benefits. Under the newly approved pilot program, which went through a meeting with the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission last month, riders can use the iPad to browse Internet content during their trip, and then simply swipe their card through the Square reader at the top of the device when it’s time to get out.
Right now, every yellow can in New York City has a TV for passengers to watch, but it’s a loop of the same several minutes of content over and over again. And many riders don’t even realize the TV is touchscreen, though this functionality is not being used to its fullest extent at all. A formal meeting between Square and the TLC has been scheduled for March 1. If you want iPads in your taxis, keep your fingers crossed.