Building an infrastructure of card readers from scratch was a challenge - especially through small-business owners and word of mouth. Still, for people who couldn't use checkout counters for their customer transactions, Square offered unparalleled convenience. But today there are more than 80 companies, including PayPal and Amazon.com, offering card readers that look a lot like Square's, often for less and with more features. In August, Amazon introduced Local Register, a similar service that offered merchants a 36 percent discount over Square swipes until 2016 if they signed up by Halloween. In the market it pioneered, Square looks “a little long in the tooth,” says Nick Holland, an analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research. Even among its core market, businesses with $100,000 to $1m in annual sales, the company’s share stands at 10 percent, according to Javelin data.
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