By Matthew Claudel
on 1.3.11

Throughout history, the retail experience has gone through continual reinvention: barter to coin to paper to plastic – and soon, even cash registers may be considered obsolete. Square is the latest, brilliant, “there’s an app for that!” moment, designed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. It’s a postage stamp sized magnetic card reader that attaches to smartphones, allowing them to process credit cards for any internet-based transaction. This could be anything from a buying a shirt from an employee who is wandering the sales floor to squaring up with a buddy over a split check at dinner. The deal is entirely paperless — sign the receipt on-screen and a copy is sent straight to your email. No lines, no cash, no dealing with apathetic teens behind the register. The only downside? It looks a bit rude when your salesperson starts texting in the middle of a sale.

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