In September, we reported on Square Up’s sudden price increase on its point-of-sale transactions, moving from a flat 2.75% fee to a 2.6% + $.10. The new rate provides a price break for retailers with larger ticket sizes—companies with average transactions over $67 saw their fees decrease—while putting a heavy burden on companies with higher quantity but lower amount transactions, like coffee shops. Specialty cafes were the first adopters and popularizers of the Square platform and are now feeling the squeeze as Square shifts their focus away from their one-time lifeblood; some we spoke with estimated their point-of-sale fee increase north of $8,000 annually.
But now, one company with ties to the coffee world is looking to develop a new point-of-sale platform for those looking to squash the Square. After securing $500,000 in funding from Gravity Payments, to-go ordering app Joe Coffee is looking to move into the POS space.
Per GeekWire, Joe Coffee—and not Joe Coffee Company—was started as a mobile ordering and rewards platform build to give small, independent coffee shops a way to stay competitive with larger coffee companies like Starbucks who have “very sticky loyalty programs.” With over 500 companies already on board, the Seattle-based startup has already developed strong ties within the industry. And now with the backing of Gravity Payments, Joe Coffee is heading in-store.
In an email sent to Sprudge, Joe Coffee state their in-store purchasing will come with lower rates for coffee shops than those currently offered by Square, though the specifics of that rate have yet to be made public. The in-store point-of-sale system will be completely integrated into their current online ordering platform and is expected to have a limited roll out in Spring with current Joe customers receiving priority access.
Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, one of the first to speak out about the Square price increase, stated:
A company like Square goes after all the coffee shops and crowds out any competition… Our core mission is sticking up for everyday people against wealth and power and people that are taking advantage of them.
With the recent investment, Gravity Payments and Joe Coffee are looking to break up that monopoly by providing the services Square made their reputation on (and the reason so many cafes initially implemented their systems): low cost transaction fees. It remains to be seen what those fees will actually be or how the point-of-sale platform will actually perform, but for the coffee shops looking to move away from Square, many of whom have reached out to us looking for alternatives, Joe Coffee may be something to keep your radar.