Square hits Australia, launching mobile credit card reader

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

Square, the mobile payments specialist launched in the US in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has extended its service in Australia.

The company, which held a successful initial public offering (IPO) four months ago, had set up an Australia office in Melbourne last May. With the launch of Square Reader, the company will be competing in Australia’s payment space with PayPal, PayPal-owned Braintree and local players such as Mint Payments and Tyro Payments.

Apple Pay launched in Australia last November for American Express card holders, but it is not supported by the Square Reader, which supports the Australian chip-and-PIN standard, along with traditional magnetic-stripe transactions. However, for the moment Square is holding off on launching its near field communication (NFC)-enabled contactless card reader in Australia.

Square’s NFC payment terminal, available to US customers for US$49, supports “tap-and-go” contactless payments such as Visa’s payWave, Mastercard’s PayPass, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

“Square is committed to making card payments simple for Australian small business owners with the launch of Square Reader – an innovative, integrated payments device that allows you to accept credit and debit cards with one low rate across all card types, without long contracts or hidden fees,” said Ben Pfisterer, Square’s Australian country manager.

The Australia launch also extends Square’s long-running global partnership with New-Zealand based software company Xero, which specialises in cloud-based accounting software for small- to medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Our partnership with Square connects the best of both worlds,” said Trent Innes, managing director (MD) of Xero Australia. “Square replaces clunky, expensive cash registers and connects it to Xero, the cloud software that has made accounting software beautiful and easy to use for 600,000 small businesses.

“Now businesses can sell to anyone, anywhere with a card, whether it’s in-store, at a pop-up market, or on the side of the road. There’s no more manual data entry or ensuring their accounting lines up with their point of sale (PoS) – it’s all there at a glance.”

The Australia launch will fuel speculation as to whether Square is considering further expansion into other countries, such as Germany and the UK.

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