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Square, Inc. Announces Square Register: What You Need to Know

By Daniel Sparks – Oct 30, 2017 at 8:32PM

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Is this Square's next catalyst?

Square (SQ -1.63%) surprised investors on Monday, when the company announced a new register, designed entirely by Square. The point-of-sale hardware marks an important shift for the company. Not only does it give the Square its first high-end checkout product, but it's also the company's first hardware that doesn't need to interact with existing technology such as tablets or smartphones.

With Square stock rising 1.6% on Monday, the new device seems to have made a good first impression on investors. Here's what you should know about the company's newest hardware offering. 

An employee and customer interact with the two displays included with Square Register

Square Register. Image source: Square.

It's a total solution

With Square Register, the mobile-payment company wanted to leave no stone unturned. Square Register is "a versatile, fully integrated point-of-sale, built in-house to work seamlessly with any business," Square explained in its press release about the hardware. The device is the first Square product that works right out of the box.

In addition to accepting magstripe, contactless, and chip credit card payments, it features end-to-end hardware that allows for fast payment processing, built-in software from Square that will receive regular updates, and (finally!) two displays -- one for the business and one for the customer.

Helping it stand out as a professional point-of-sale solution for large businesses, it also includes a two-year warranty, an Ethernet port, an offline mode, and five USB ports for integrating with peripheral devices.

It's pricey

Compared with Square's other products, Square Register's $999 price tag puts the company in a whole different ballgame. Hardware other than Square Register that the company currently sells on its website includes a combo kit with a stand and a contactless and chip payments processor that costs $169, a simpler payment processor for accepting contactless payments and chip cards for $49, and a chip card reader for $29. 

"Square Register is priced to offer larger sellers a fully integrated point-of-sale solution," the company said about the hardware's $999 price tag.

Leaning on the company's growing experience with financing through Square Capital, the company is making the hardware more accessible through a financing option of $49 a month over 24 months, or a total of $1,176.

A customer uses a chip reader built into Square Register

Square Register. Image source: Square.

Is this Square's next catalyst?

Beyond Square Register's role in better positioning Square to cater to larger businesses, the hardware's higher price point could prove to be a catalyst for the company's financials.

In Square's second quarter, hardware revenue was just $10 million, or less than 2% of total revenue. Even more, this revenue was down 7% year over year as the company went up against a year-ago quarter, when droves of merchants were adopting contactless and chip-reader technology. Worse yet, hardware costs meaningfully exceeded hardware revenue; hardware costs during the quarter were about $14 million. In other words, Square's current hardware business is contributing very little to the company's top line and is actually weighing on profits.

Square Register could change things. If Square Register gains traction with larger merchants, the company could not only fortify its lead in an important market but also possibly begin generating meaningful profits from hardware.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Square. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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