Cash Registers Cashing Out?

By: Kara Tsuboi Email
By: Kara Tsuboi Email

August 4, 2011 -

Call them the cash registers of the future. A company called Square lets business owners turn their smartphones or tablets into registers. But not everyone is sold on this new technology.

The cash register at Gino and Carlo's Cocktail Lounge in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood out-dates most of the patrons.

"We love our register. It's solid, you can't pick it up and run away with it. It's reliable, it never breaks. It's simple, looks cool. My father used the same register when he was a teenager," says Marco Rossi, owner of Gino &Carlo's Cocktail Lounge.

But registers like these from the 1930s could make the endangered species list as more and more businesses favor modern technology.

Cheryl Burr, the owner of San Francisco's Pinkie's Bakery is testing out Square, a credit card reader that plugs into the audio jack of a tablet or smartphone for point-of-sale purchases.

"They have a lot of kinks to work out, but in general, it's a good program. The customers really seem to enjoy it. They think it's kind of a cool tech thing that we're doing and kind of adds to the buzz about Pinkie's Bakery," says Cheryl Burr, owner of Pinkie's Bakery.

But there are some drawbacks: Square takes 2.75 percent per transaction, there's no option for paper receipts, only email and text, and the system depends on a strong, reliable internet connection.

"We'll give it a chance for probably a full year and see how they can make more improvements. And if they don't, we may go back to the old way," Burr says.

"Square definitely has been making some strides. It's got the $4 million dollars a day in daily transactions. That's still a really small percentage of credit card transactions globally, but it's making headway," says Jessica Dolcourt, a CNET writer.

"Would you ever consider switching to something more modern? I don't see why. For what reason? We love our register!" Rossi says.

In San Francisco, I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com for CBS News.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:06 AM
    Wave of the future, get ready for your 666 tatoos
  • by gotta love technology Location: ... on Aug 4, 2011 at 09:13 AM
    It's coming...Just wait till there is a scanner attachment for the smartphone to read credit cards that allow you to "tap and go"...you'll end up getting "tapped" alright...
  • by Anonymous on Aug 4, 2011 at 09:01 AM
    Square is a scam. They hold your money for 30 days without paying interest. Stay Away! We use Go Payment from Intuit/Quickbooks. Not perfect but we have our money in 48 hours. Square is for someone having a garage sale, not for a real business.
  • by Steve Location: Cairo on Aug 4, 2011 at 07:31 AM
    So, what about people like me that do not own this fancy technology? I can afford it but do not believe I have to be wired in 24/7. I also believe that "social media" makes people anti-social as who really wants to be friended by someone you may not know? Duh. I prefer face to face friends.
  • by Traveler on Aug 4, 2011 at 06:36 AM
    I don't understand why the technology used in Europe hasn't been utilized in the U.S. On my last visit in 2007, EVERY restaurant I patroned used a small handheld, portable credit card machine that they swiped IN FRONT OF YOU so that the waiter/waitress NEVER left the table with your card to prevent fraud. Is there something wrong with bringing this to this side of the pond??
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