SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – First, mobile payment service Square made it easier for merchants to accept credit cards anytime, anywhere, with just a smart phone and a tiny, plastic credit-card reader. Now the startup led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey hopes to show them they can abandon cash registers.

On Monday, Square announced its free Square Register app for Apple Inc.’s iPad. The software helps businesses with the sales process and lets them reach smartphone-toting customers who have another app called Square Card Case.

KCBS’ Technology Analyst Larry Magid Comments:

KCBS technology analyst Larry Magid predicted Square Register would not immediately revolutionize how we pay for purchases given that smart phones are not a universal accessory among customers and many stores still do not have a Square credit-card reader.

“Eventually I think something like this will catch on,” Magid said.

About 500,000 merchants have installed Square card-readers since 2009. In return, Square charges businesses a 2.75 percent transaction fee.

Magid said one advantage the Square approach offers over its competitors in capturing market share is the use of text messaging rather than a direct wireless connection between the customer’s smartphone and the payment device.

“It’ll work on a lot more devices,” he said.

Square Register is available in Apple’s App Store. Square Card Case can be downloaded through one of 50 authorized merchants.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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