Want a Square card reader? Verizon stores are literally giving them away

Gaming execs: Join 180 select leaders from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. GamesBeat Summit is invite-only -- apply here. Ticket prices increase on April 3rd!


Starting today, Verizon Wireless retail stores will start selling Square hardware — the nifty credit card-reading dongle for smartphones and tablets.

The craziest part: The iOS and Android dongles are selling for $9.97, which includes a $10 Square credit.

That’s right: Verizon is literally giving away Square readers. And there are no contracts required.

Of course, if you don’t already have an iOS or Android tablet for your small business, the Square card reader gives you a pretty good reason to snap one up (along with a contract) while you’re in the store, so it could turn out to be a pretty good deal for Verizon.

Square already gives away free card readers to any merchant who signs up. But taking the readers into retail makes it even easier for tech-wary merchants and small-business owners — the kind who are still so tech-wary they don’t take credit cards — to get onboard with the plastic revolution.

As Verizon exec Paul Macchia states on the company blog, “Now merchants have a better chance to close the sale when a prospective customer doesn’t have enough cash on hand but truly wants the product or service.”

Square’s mobile card readers can be purchased at more than 30,000 other retail stores, from the Apple Store and Best Buy to Target, Walmart, and even Starbucks, all with similar price points and rebates.

VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.