Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 12:18 pm PT (03:18 pm ET)
Mobile payments: Square partners with Product (RED), Loop Fob lets you pay wirelesslyMerchants using Square to receive payments can now help the fight against AIDS with the new SQUA(RED) reader, while Loop's promising new magnet-based payment system is now available for purchase.
Mobile commerce leader Square and U2 frontman Bono's Product (RED) charity have teamed up to offer a special red edition of the company's credit card reader they are calling SQUA(RED). Merchants can order the crimson-colored dongle for $10, $9.73 of which will go directly to The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Square will continue to take its standard 2.75-percent commission on purchases, but receipts for purchases made with the red reader will include a link giving the customer an opportunity to contribute on their own.
"Square already helps millions of local sellers run and grow their business, and now with SQUA(RED) Reader, we're empowering them to raise awareness for an important cause and help save lives in the process," Square CEO Jack Dorsey said in a release announcing the partnership.
Businesses already using the SQUA(RED) reader include Valerie Confections in Los Angeles, King of Pops in Atlanta, and more than 30 sellers at New York City's Artists & Fleas market in Chelsea.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign and a $12 million venture capital round, mobile payments startup Loop is now offering its Loop Fob for sale to the public. The system enables users to store their credit cards digitally and pay using only the fob at nearly any standard credit card terminal.
The fob consists of two elements — a magnetic card reader and a magnetic transmitter — wrapped in a small, white plastic shell. Users add their cards to the fob by swiping; the fob will read and store the information contained on the card's magnetic strip.
When making payments, users select their card and hold the fob near the credit card lane on any swip-style card reader. The fob's transmitter will generate a magnetic signal that emulates the signal the reader would receive from a swiped card.
Users can manage the data contained on the fob using the LoopWallet for iOS. The fob connects to the phone via the headphone jack.
The Loop Fob is $39 from Loop's online store, and comes with a choise of blue, gray, green, purple, or pink plastic "bumper." Loop also offers a dedicated iPhone case with built-in battery, which can be pre-ordered for $99.
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