Pay babysitter on iPhone, says Twitter

Dec 09, 2009
Pay babysitter on iPhone, says Twitter

Microblogging service Twitter has branched into the market for electronic payments, unveiling a mini credit card swiper that plugs into the iPhone, at a European internet fair on Wednesday.

Twitter's founder Jack Dorsey told AFP the device, the "Square," aimed particularly to enable small transactions for "people like babysitters, dog walkers, golf instructors, flight instructors" to collect payment.

The small black square plugs into the phone's microphone socket, turning it into a card reader like the swipe machines widely used in US shops and restaurants. Its official launch is set for March.

"A lot of people in the world today are using plastic cards to pay people with... But receiving payments from them is very hard," he told AFP while demonstrating the device at LeWeb, an Internet forum in Paris.

"There's a number of people who are providing services, or selling something, that can't transact with credit cards today because of the complexity."

Specialist website TechCrunch reported a "feeding frenzy" of investor interest around the Square even ahead of LeWeb.

"This is a bold foray into a huge, and complicated, market: physical payments," wrote Techcrunch blogger Michael Arrington. "Square will be a huge win or it'll go out of business."

Billed as Europe's top Internet fair, LeWeb was expected to draw 2,000 visitors including major names such as networking site Facebook and Google plus start-ups looking for investors, its organisers said.

Some big names in "apps" -- the iPhone applications that provide everything from street maps to video games -- were also present, including the music-recognition app Shazam.

"I'm here because it's the European centre of the world today," said Laurent Nicolas, from e-commerce company Aventy, of the two-day event.

"It's a real networking place where I can meet a lot of people to, for instance, leverage our international expansion."

Dorsey, whose Twitter concept of real-time mini-blogs has become an online phenomenon since its 2006 launch, saw the recent economic slowdown as an opportunity for web entrepreneurs.

"The crisis has actually been helpful in terms of innovation for the payments industry," he said.

"There's been a clearing of the slate and people are really going down to the bare minimum and figuring out how we can actually innovate and build new things."

PayPal, a widely-used service for secure online payments, was at LeWeb touting PayPal X, a platform for complex and entirely web-based transactions. It is seeking partners to develop new applications for use on the platform.

"One of the areas we're really pushing is mobile," Paypal representative Amina Belghiti told AFP.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Tomorrow's tablets? Look, no hands

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Swipe Your Credit Card on a Cell Phone

Dec 07, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- With a small card reader that attaches to a cell phone, a new company is making it easier for small businesses and even individuals to accept credit card payments. The San Francisco start-up, ...

Sony TVs to have electronic money function

Mar 02, 2009

Sony's new liquid crystal display televisions will have an electronic money function to make it easier for users to pay to watch movies and programmes, the company said Monday.

Apple rumored to want to buy Twitter

May 07, 2009

As the media appearances of Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams have multiplied, so have rumors that the company is for sale and about to be bought.

Recommended for you

Tomorrow's tablets? Look, no hands

40 minutes ago

Engineers in a suburban Chicago office complex have designed a new microphone that they say will be key to the future of smartphone and tablet technology because it gives consumers the ability to operate hand-held devices ...

Apple computer sells for record $905K in NY

Oct 23, 2014

One of the first Apple computers ever built has sold in New York for $905,000, leading Bonhams auction house to declare it the world's most expensive computer relic.

Review: Better cameras, less glare in iPad Air 2

Oct 22, 2014

If I've seen you taking photos with a tablet computer, I've probably made fun of you (though maybe not to your face, depending on how big you are). I'm old school: I much prefer looking through the viewfinder ...

Samsung phones cleared for US government use

Oct 21, 2014

Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday some of its Galaxy mobile devices were approved by the National Security Agency for use with classified U.S. government networks and data, a boost to the company's efforts to expand in ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ealex
not rated yet Dec 09, 2009
Joy to thieves, the TWIT has come.

It's going to be spectacular to see the vast number of ways this is going to be abused.

Apparently Twitter is no longer happy with being just a huge zero-profit money sink-hole, it wants to be a legal liability too.

GG.