One Hour in Square’s World

1 Hour in Square’s World

What Are Those Circles?
The circles represent single transactions going through the Square payments system during a one-hour period on a recent Thursday afternoon–the larger the circle, the bigger the dollar amount of the sale. These transactions happened around 4 p.m. Eastern. So think happy hour in New York, and lunch hour in San Francisco, where Square is based. A busy period for Square and the merchants who use it.

What Do the Colors Represent?

The colors are different types of sales, everything from taxi fares to museum entrance fees, medical care and landscaping. Not all the transactions are visible as they are piled on top of each other.

Red: Retail
Yellow: Professional services (doctors, lawyers)
Blue: Individual use (e.g., your sister owes you money)
Light Blue: Business services (businesses servicing other businesses)
Green: Food and grocery
Grey: Art gallery sale
Purple: Beauty and barber
Orange: Restaurants and bar

What Three Merchants Were Selling During That Hour

4 P.M. Dukes Bread, Charlotte, NC: Adam Duke was set up at a farmer’s market in a business park in the University area of Charlotte. He sold out of his gorgonzola round, a $5 cheese and onion-laden loaf of bread. About $1 in every $20 goes through Square for the bakery.

3 P.M Eastside Supply Co. and Sanctuary Print Shop, Austin TX: The print shop wrapped a car with vinyl graphics, and sold a dozen embroidered baseball caps, while at its retail store three tank tops with its anchor logo were sold. Using Square’s full-blown register app, Sanctuary had its T-shirt inventory and pricing online in a day.

1 P.M. Cartel Coffee Lab, Phoenix, AZ: In one of its four locations Cartel Coffee sold 28 coffee drinks, one chai and an iced tea. Toddy, its cold brewed coffee, was the sales winner–it gets hot in Phoenix. Cartel estimates it saves $2,000 a month in credit card processing fees using Square.

How Much Does It Add Up To?

Square releases the total dollar amount of sales that go through the system, not the total number of transactions. The most recent number puts total Square-enabled sales at more than $5 billion per year. That gets you to about $14 million per day. Since this snapshot captures a high activity part of the day across the entire U.S (not much being sold between midnight and 5 A.M.) this one hour likely represents several million dollars in sales. Square’s take in a hour? About $60,000.

Square $200 million funding sought

Mobile payment innovator Square is looking for another $200 million in funding in a deal that would value the entire company at $3.25 billion, a testament to just how powerful the once-lonely startup has become. These days, the Square brand is one of the most recognized brands in the mobile space and has spawned no shortage of copycats looking to follow after the empire it has created.

It seems so simple – it’s a dongle that attaches to the headphone jack of a smartphone and turns the phone into a mobile credit card terminal. It lets anyone – small businesses or even individual users – accept plastic from friends or customers. Square has turned that into an enormous business, and it has managed to break apart monopolies that used to exist in the world of credit card processing companies.

This latest round of funding will be Square’s third in just the last two years. The company has been very busy, and of course it can’t rest on its laurels because every other player in the financial space is trying to create its own Square rival, so Square is staying on its toes and continuing to innovate. One of its biggest success stories was getting approval to include Square credit card readers in New York City taxicabs, where Verifone previously had monopolistic power and charged cab drivers fees that were above industry averages. That’s just the beginning of the Square revolution.


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