Square Takes Its First International Step: Payment Service Now Live In Canada

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Square has taken its first step outside of the U.S. for its mobile payment service: it is now live in Canada. The company said today that its mobile card reader/processor is now available nationwide, priced at the same rate as in its home market: 2.75% per swipe. In the U.S. there are now 2 million businesses using Square’s system, making a total of $8 billion in annualized payments.

This is a sign that the company has come good on its promise that it would start to make its first international moves by the end of this year — a commitment that it made when it announced its latest round of funding, a Series D of $200 million, in September. That investment reportedly valued the company at $3.25 billion.

Canada is an easy and obvious move for the company. The physical proximity of the country makes it potentially easier on an operational level, and there no language barrier. It is also a market where the magnetic stripe at the back of the card is still the most common and accepted way of processing transactions. Update: some readers have noted in the comments that in fact Canada uses mainly chip-and-pin, rather than the mag stripe.

“We are focused on making commerce easy for everyone. Square builds free tools for local businesses of all sizes and types to thrive,” said Alyssa Cutright, VP of International for Square, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to introduce Canadian businesses and their customers to the most seamless and enjoyable way to do business.”

How cards get read will be something that Square needs to address when it comes to other markets like Europe, where the chip-and-pin system, and not the mag-stripe, is the most common way of processing card transactions. (This is where European companies like iZettle, Payleven and others could have an advantage and potentially serve as strategic partners for Square when and if it chooses to come to Europe.)

But the dongle that is the “square” of Square is only one part of the equation. Square’s partnership with Starbucks could be a window on to another route for how Square will go into other markets. Starbucks is integrating the company’s Pay With Square app service into its own app, meaning that users will be able to charge their Frappuccinos and muffins via Square without the dongle ever coming into the equation. Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has not ruled out taking Square to the many markets where it offers services. What he has said is that it will be up to Square CEO Jack Dorsey to decide when to make that move.

We have been hearing a lot of murmurs about where Square may go next, with some believing Asia will be next on the cards.

Part of today’s deal also includes access to Square’s Square Register app. That is the point-of-sale system that Square offers not just to process payments but to track inventory, monitor overall transaction reports, and loyalty programs. Merchants can also promote their business through the Square directory. The point of sale system is where Square most closely starts to come into competition against the likes of Groupon, which is also driving a similar payment/point-of-sale product launch in the form of Breadcrumb.

Full release below.

Square Arrives in Canada

Canadians Can Now Accept Credit Cards and Run their Business using Square on their Mobile Device

SAN FRANCISCO– October 24, 2012 – Square, the company making commerce easy for everyone, today announced availability in Canada. Square enables anyone, anywhere in Canada to accept credit cards, run and grow their business.

Square’s free Mobile Card Reader plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Square Register is the free app that enables anyone to safely and securely accept credit card payments with one simple, low transaction rate of 2.75% per swipe, with no hidden fees. Funds from swiped payments are available the next business day, eliminating the wait for cash flow.

Canada is Square’s first market outside the US. Over 2 million individuals and businesses can already accept credit cards with Square, and Square is processing over US$8 billion in annualized payments.

“We are focused on making commerce easy for everyone. Square builds free tools for local businesses of all sizes and types to thrive,” said Alyssa Cutright, VP of International for Square. “We’re thrilled to introduce Canadian businesses and their customers to the most seamless and enjoyable way to do business.”

Square Register serves as a free full point-of-sale system for businesses to accept payments, track inventory, and monitor daily reports, empowering them to make smart decisions for their business. Square Register also helps businesses attract new customers with tools to create customized loyalty and rewards programs as well as showcase themselves in the Square directory.

Square Register app is free for download from the App Store and Google Play. Square’s Mobile Card Reader is available for free on www.square.ca.

About Square, Inc.

Square is making commerce easy for everyone. Square’s Mobile Card Reader enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere, anytime at one simple rate. Square Register serves as a full point-of-sale system for businesses to accept payments, track inventory, and share menu and location information. Square Wallet, available in the US, is the most seamless way to pay, enabling individuals to pay with their names at their favorite local businesses, discover new ones nearby, explore menu listings, and store receipts. Founded in 2009, and headquartered in San Francisco, Square is currently available in the U.S. and Canada. More information is available at squareup.ca.