MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly a third of smartphone owners use their phone for shopping-related activities.

Research from Nielsen reveals that the top activities among mobile shoppers include in-store price comparisons, browsing products through their mobile web or apps and reading online product reviews.

But more and more stores and shoppers in Minnesota are also using a new app called Square to pay for things.

By attaching a square card reader into the headphone jack, anyone is able to take payments on their mobile device.

Urban Bean Coffee is a place people come for not only the joe but the atmosphere.

“My first question was do you take cards because I didn’t see a cash register or anything so I wondered if I needed to have cash,” said Katie Horecka.

Horecka was suprised about how her waitress took her order and payment.

“I noticed as she was putting in my order she was doing it on the iPad and she flipped it around and told me the spiel and said sign with your finger and if you want to add the tip there was the option right there,” she said.

Greg Martin has owned Urban Bean since 1995.

“I love the customer reaction to it,” he said.

He said he became a Square merchant because of its look.

“I originally wanted it in here because I really did think it looked great with the store and that was going to be awesome but people really like using it,” Martin said. “People bring in friends and show them. They love it. It’s great.”

Martin now knows this little device is saving him big bucks.

“Per transaction fee is only 2.57 percent,” he said. “Break it down a bit for a $2 cup of coffee — it’s six cents, so I am paying only six cents for that transaction.”

There is no activation, annual, chargeback or refund fees and no hardware to be leased or purchased.

Martin said Square is easy to use. Just touch the item purchased, and then slide their credit or debit card.

“You get to sign the iPad with your finger. People like that. You know people are actually happy to pay for something. It’s nice,” he said.

There are nearly 4,000 Square merchants in Minneapolis alone, one of the highest concentrations of use in the country.

“It unshackles you from the big boys,” said Tamas Pomazi, who owns Greenwich Vintage Co. in the north loop.

He uses Square for its security.

“I don’t get your numbers,” he said. “I don’t even get your email from Square that stays with you. Your card stays with you so if we did the transaction your vital information stays with you, so there is no identity theft.”

He said the card case app allows him to patronize other Square merchants, without even pulling his credit card out of his wallet.

“Here is my card case for Square. I’m already a customer and all I have to do is press the tab,” he said.

For these business owners, this is the new way of doing business — cheaper and more secure.

“It’s defintiely the future,” Martin said. “Without a doubt, you will see these a lot.”

The Square app is free for download in the App store or Android market. The new payment system was created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.


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