It’s been nearly a year since Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced the launch of mobile payment system Square. In that time, the company has run into, hardware, software and security issues to keep it from taking off. According to an article in today’s Financial Times, the service has one more gigantic hurdle to clear in its efforts to get moving and gain adoption – it doesn’t work with the iPhone 4.
Update: As one commenter points out below, the problem is not universal and only affects some iPhone 4 users, not all.
In its time, Square has run into a few issues. First, production delays for the dongle that allows iPhones and iPads to become card readers slowed things down, then the service had to retool its infrastructure to handle credit risks. Now, it looks like that same dongle doesn’t work with the iPhone 4. Here’s what Square says in an October 9 support entry:
Our card readers currently “bridge” the grounding inside the headphone jack and the positive signal of the antenna band. This renders our card readers inactive for your iPhone4. We are working on redesigning our card readers and will be contacting our iPhone4 users as soon as they are ready for shipment.
As the Financial Times points out, with such a serious design flaw impacting the millions of potential iPhone 4 users, “Square’s utility might have to be reassessed.”
Trust already feels hard to come by when people confront the idea of mobile smartphone payment systems, but a fix involving a small piece of paper certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.