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Astro is the new kid on the block when it comes to mobile payments, making their consumer debut at CES 2013. With rivals such as Square and Paypal, it can be a tough place for a new startup. But Astro isn't just about processing payments, they're also a complete point of sale system, with inventory tracking, employee permissions management and a cloud-based system that lets you bring your business anywhere.
Astro calls itself the "professional version of the Square," targeting businesses that make regular sales rather than a user who might process payments every once and a while. Just like Square, Astro offers a basic card reader for free, but there are also more feature filled models. There's a Bluetooth device that can read cards and print receipts as well as a device for the iPad or iPhone that scans barcodes in addition to reading credit cards.
Since the software is cloud-based, sales reports and order management can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. Astro can integrate into existing ecommerce systems so seller's won't need to switch over their entire backend system. Astro turns any iPad, iPhone or Android device into a fully featured register.
Astro has been working behind the scenes with several merchants, helping power sales at the San Diego Comic-Con last year. It was the official payment system for The Walking Dead booth, handling several thousand transactions each day. Now it's bringing their cloud-based ecommerce solution to everyone, with lower fees per transaction than Square.