Created for the "Merchant Services" group of Bank of America in 2012, the Mobile Pay credit card reader was designed for used by small business owners who may not be particularly tech savvy.
At the time, "square" was becoming trendy, but did not function very well. Users expressed frustrations at missed swipes, requiring them to enter numbers manually and pay a higher processing fee. Through research it was determined the main cause of misreads was that square had no stabilizing mechanism, and was too short to keep cards sliding straight. While this created a sleek design, it's function was too compromised for the Mobile Pay target audience.
The BoA mobile reader was designed to fix that. I was the lead engineer at frog working in conjunction with an OEM chosen by the client. We worked through dozens of designs until we settled on the fins, which are made out of nylon to allow for massive deflections.
A major challenge was that this device had to work on future thinner phones without a case (while still remaining steady) and current thick phones with an otterbox. This could be anywhere in the range of 5mm - 15mm+ of thickness. In addition, headphone jack locations are not standardized but instead located centered, left/right justified, and some even end up closer to the front/back of the phone. The reader had to be designed to not only work in these instances, but not look as if it was upside-down or flipped.