Square iPhone-based payment system goes into trial

A new paperless payment system that uses an iPhone or iPod touch is currently being trialled in an NYC store.  Codenamed Square, the system involves a small plastic card reader which plugs into the PMP's headphones socket; this is used to read the credit card's magnetic stripe, with the price tapped in on-screen and the customer signing with their fingertip.

The customer's email address can then be entered, so that their receipt can be sent to them wirelessly.  As the example below shows, the receipt not only records the time, date and value of the purchase, but includes a map with directions back to the store and links to their site.

Square collect a small percentage of the transaction amount plus a fixed fee, as would any card processing company with a traditional card-reader, and the remaining funds are transferred directly into the vendor's bank account.  If successful during the trial at Self Edge NYC, it's expected to be rolled out to other stores and those requiring straightforward ways to accept mobile payments.