Square Launches Contactless Payment in Australia

Posted by Andrea Baker on

Payment processing and point of sale provider Square has extended its services in Australia, with the launch of a new credit card reader that offers contactless card payments including Apple Pay.

Square first arrived in Australia in March 2016, offering a free point of sale app and $19 swipe-style credit card reader. But with the Australian market being one of the keener users of contactless payments, a card reader that accepted PayWave was always a priority.

This week that product has been delivered to Australian business in the form of a $59 palm-sized device that connects to mobiles and tablets via Bluetooth low energy technology. It not only accepts chip payments and PayWave, but also supports Apple and Android pay. 

Square Card Reader and PayPass


Started in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square was always based on the idea that doing business and taking payments should be easy wherever you are. The hardware the company initially utilised was a small credit card swipe reader that inserted into the 3.5mm headphone jack of mobile phones and tablets. It processes chip and magnetic swipe payments.

View our range of tablet stands compatible with the new Square card reader.

The reader is accompanied by a free app designed to not only take payments, but track inventory, sales and generate invoices, and can be utilised by retailers, the hospitality industry and trades people alike.

Square's Australian Country Manager Ben Pfisterer explained this week that based on their company research, up to 80% of Square sellers from across Australia had not accepted credit or debit cards before using Square.

He continued this highlighted that existing card payment solutions in the market did not meet the needs of growing small business owners.

While the small swipe reader remains in play, this week the company rolled out contactless, making Australia only the second country to be offered this option by Square. 

Square Card Chip Reader

New contactless device

Australia has been one of the most enthusiastic adopters of contactless credit card technology, with the Sydney Morning Herald noting around 70-80 per cent of over the counter payments here are made using contactless technology.

Square's new reader not only offers this capability but does so with a device that supports Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Square’s newest reader sends data with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, and Pfisterer explained it provided greater flexibility for businesses — whether accepting payments at their countertop or on the go.

To make a payment, a customer either holds their near field communication (NFC)-enabled card or device up to the reader, or inserts their chip card, and the entire transaction is completed in seconds. Cordless, the reader can be taken to the customer in the queue, to the table in a restaurant or to the customer in the home.

"We’re committed to bringing Australian business owners the best in payment innovation — whether it’s with our newest contactless and chip card reader, our original mobile chip card reader or online invoicing software like Square Invoices," Pfisterer said.

“Our tools are helping to rapidly grow the market for card acceptance in one of the world’s most innovative and increasingly cashless economies.” 

Apple Pay

While Australia has been quick to adopt contactless payments, Apple Pay is yet to really take hold locally. This is partly due to the fact only one of the major banks, ANZ, supports the payment option. The Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac recently lost an appeal to the computer watchdog to start joint negotiations with Apple.

But Pfisterer remains confident the Apple Pay and Android Pay will catch on, telling the Sydney Morning Herald: "From our perspective we understand that it's a complicated issue".

"We hope that this impasse passes quickly and ultimately we can start seeing the onset of mobile payments.

"Whilst Apple's discussions with the banks are ongoing, it's a shame to see both consumers and businesses miss out on the opportunity to use what's a really exciting and convenient technology. We believe that it's only the start of something really big, so hopefully it gets worked through pretty quickly." 

Where you can get it

Square' contactless credit card reader was launched on September 27 and is available for $59 at their website. It will also soon be found in-store at retailers like OfficeWorks, Harvey Norman, Apple and Optus.