Visa Invests in Twitter Founder's Square Startup

By Cindy Waxer April 28, 2011

You might be using your smartphone to make credit card purchases sooner than you think. Financial services giant Visa has agreed to fund Square, a mobile payment technology company founded in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Square is a free app that can be downloaded from the Android Market or iTunes App Store and can be used to accept credit cards. According to the company’s website, Square is “easy to use and comes with a free credit card reader for your phone or iPad. Sign-up is quick. No complicated contracts, monthly fees, or merchant account.”

Visa’s financial backing of Square is a win-win situation: Square receives some much-needed funding while Reuters reports that Visa earned a seat on Square’s advisory board – a position that should help carve out a space for Visa in the burgeoning mobile payment industry.

As reported by, Google is reportedly in the process of developing a retail payment service that would enable users to make purchases using just their smartphone, two sources close to the situation told Bloomberg News. Employing near-field communication-based (NFC) technologies, the prospective service would let consumers purchase items by simply scanning their Web-enabled handset at a store's checkout counter. Mobile phones that contain an NFC chip would be linked to credit cards, bank accounts, gift cards and even coupon subscriptions. Google would most likely monetize the service by integrating it into its advertising platform.

And AmericanExpress recently unveiled Serve, which offers users multiple payment options, including person-to-person (P2P) money transfers, mobile payments, in-store card payments and online transactions through mobile phones.

No wonder credit card companies are vying for a slice of the mobile payment market. According to a Juniper Research report, purchases via mobile devices of digital and physical goods, contactless NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions and money transfers will together generate transactions worth over $600 billion globally by 2013.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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