Square signals it’s coming to Australia, small business set to benefit

Mobile payments company Square, founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is rumoured to be coming to Australia, potentially providing small businesses with an easy in-store payment solution.

Speculation started circulating earlier this month after a photo was posted on Twitter of Dorsey and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, accompanied by the message “disruptive innovation soon to come to Aus”.

Since then sources have confirmed to The Australian Financial Review preparations have begun to launch the business down under.

The technology has been a success in the United States and should it enter the Australian market is expected to disrupt the banks and provide businesses with a cheaper and simpler solution to electronic payments.

Square allows businesses to accept electronic payments on their iPhones, iPads or Android devices through the attachment of a card reader.

It’s also created the Square Wallet, an app which allows people to pay at some US retailers by simply saying their name.

Pin Payments head of business development Chris Dahl told SmartCompany new players coming into the market help to drive innovation.

“It’s a good thing for Australian tech companies and also for Australian businesses. From our experience helping small and medium-sized businesses get online and start transacting quickly, this is effectively what Square will be able to do in the retail space,” he says.

“We help online business and Square is a clear alternative for the retail space. We think it’s great and we’ve been following its progress.”

Dahl says there are local competitors to Square such as Kounta, but more competition in the space is a good thing.

“Anything which helps businesses to not have to liaise with the banks is a good thing,” he says.

“Before solutions like Pin Payments, or in retail companies like Square, businesses had to go to one of the banks, approach their merchant team and explain the business. The bank would generally ask for a business plan and a transactional history and the process can take weeks to months.”

Dahl says online businesses frequently approach them after waiting months to set up a payment system with a bank.

“Banks are big organisations and for small-to-medium-sized businesses where they might not have a business plan completely fleshed out or have a transactional history, players like Pin and Square are filling that void,” he says.

In the past two years payment systems have started to develop rapidly, as Australian businesses have pushed for innovation in the space.

In 2013 Pin Payments launched, Braintree came to Australia and PayPal launched new technology allowing businesses to accept payments via mobile phone and letting consumers order and pay on the go.

Speaking to the Australian Payments Clearing Association in 2012, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens said elements of Australia’s payments infrastructure are “a bit dated”.

“It is very clear that both individuals and businesses are demanding greater immediacy and greater accessibility in all facets of their day-to-day activities,” Stevens said.

“This includes payments.”


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