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MOBILE PAYMENTS:  A Chicago Cabbie Collects Credit-Card Fares with Square

Square, a mobile payments firm, became one of last year’s major epayments success stories. I read a lot about the firm, founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Doesey, over the past year, but I had never seen one of the devices in action until a week ago.

I gave my credit card to a Chicago cab driver, as I often do, with some trepidation because cabbies used to hate accepting the cards. This one pulled out his iPhone, fitted with a Square device and app, and swiped my card.

It was before 6 in the morning, and it woke me up. He handed me his phone so I could authorize the transaction, and off I went.

Undoubtedly, he uses Square because he collects his fees and tips faster than he does when he uses the POS device in the cab. Possibly, he also saves a cut to his tips taken by the cab company, as they do in San Francisco.

In any case, it’s a great example of how epayments are increasingly personal and how, yet again, internet and mobile technologies shift power to individuals over institutions.

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