Square is one of the most innovative companies in the world because it provides a more elegant way to pay

Nine years after launching its credit-card-reading dongle for smartphones, Square continues to find ways to make payments less painful. In October, the company introduced Square Terminal: a single-screen card-reading device (picture a smartphone resting on an angled white base) that offers wireless connectivity, a touch screen, and receipt-printing capability. Just as important, the chic device does not resemble “a 1985 calculator, like most other terminals,” says Jesse Dorogusker, Square’s hardware lead. The $400 Terminal may help the company maintain its robust growth: Square handled $23 billion in transactions in its last quarter, up 29% year over year. Cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey has expanded Square’s portfolio of services to include payroll, loans, appointment scheduling, and more. That means the Terminal isn’t just a sexy piece of hardware–it’s also a gateway to an entire ecosystem of small-business essentials.