If you process credit card and Apple Pay payments using Square, and are looking for a convenient way to transport and use Square’s new Contactless + Chip Card Reader, Square’s new OtterBox uniVERSE compatible card reader module may be of interest to you. This reader connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth and allows you to process both chip card payments and contactless NFC payments such as Apple Pay, and with the new uniVERSE case system, you can mount it conveniently on the back of your iPhone.
If you are not familiar with Square, they are a credit card processing company that first entered the market with a small white card reader that plugged into the headphone jack of various Apple and Android phones and allowed the user to process transactions involving standard magstripe credit cards. The readers were free, and the system worked very well. However, now that magstripe credit cards are being phased out, the new chip card readers that are necessary are unfortunately larger, more complicated, and no longer free. Square’s new Contactless + Chip Card Reader, as the name implies, allows you to process both chip card payments as well as Apple Pay and other NFC payments, so this justifies its increased bulk and price to some extent. However, it does not have the ability to process regular magstripe card transactions. In order to do that, you must use one of the previous generation card readers: the ones that plug into your phone’s headphone jack.
The previous gen Square readers for magstripe cards were very simple, as well as being free. They required no charging and plugged securely into your phone’s headphone jack. The new readers, however, were originally designed to just sit on a table or other flat surface as their communication with the phone was done using Bluetooth. This aspect not only required daily charging via an included micro usb cable, but also made the new readers much easier to drop or lose. Fortunately, there is a solution to at least part of this problem: the OtterBox uniVERSE case.
For those of you who may not be familiar with OtterBox’s new uniVERSE case system, it is a modular case system currently only available for the iPhone 6(s) and 6(s) Plus, which has a rail slide system hidden under a panel on the back of the case. When this panel is removed, compatible accessories can be securely attached when needed…and then removed when their job is complete. In theory, when later iPhone versions are released, all that should need to be replaced is the uniVERSE case itself: all the accessories you purchased for your old uniVERSE case should fit with the new one as well. Of course, this depends on the commercial success of the uniVERSE product, and as this is a new case, it remains to be seen how that will pan out.
So, with the OtterBox uniVERSE case, you simply slide off the decorative panel and slide on the OtterBox uniVERSE compatible version of the Square reader. Being attached in this way is quite secure and unless you lose your iPhone, you are not going to lose the Square reader. However, it is important to note that being attached in this way to your iPhone does not add any additional functionality to the Square Contactless + Chip Card Reader. It doesn’t receive any power or communicate any differently with your iPhone. The only advantage (and it is a considerable advantage) is that the reader is attached to your iPhone so you won’t lose it. The reader does add considerable bulk to your iPhone, so it is unlikely you would want to leave it attached all the time…but that’s the beauty of the OtterBox uniVERSE case system: you can slide off accessories when you are done with them.
Unquestionably, this is special purpose accessory that will not appeal to everyone. However, for those with a need to process chip cards or use Apple Pay or other NFC services, the Square Contactless + Chip Reader is a useful device that is significantly enhanced by the protection against loss and drops afforded by the OtterBox uniVERSE case. With a retail price of $49.99 (approximately the same as the non-uniVERSE version), the Square Contactless + Chip Reader for uniVERSE can be purchased from OtterBox as well as from other retailers:
The OtterBox uniVERSE case has an MSRP of $59.95 for the iPhone 6(s) Plus and $49.95 for iPhone 6(s) and is available directly from OtterBox as well as from other retailers. It comes in your choice of white or black:
Many thanks to the kind folks at Square for sending me out both the Square Contactless + Chip Reader and the OtterBox uniVERSE case to review.
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