Square’s low-cost credit card reader launches in Australia


news Global payments technology provider Square has announced that its low cost ‘Square Reader’ credit and debit card reader is now available in Australia.

Square claims the device – which allows users to accept card payments via a smartphone or tablet – is the “smallest, most mobile and most affordable” card reader in the local market.

Costing $19, Square Reader plugs directly into the headphone jack of an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, allowing sellers to accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit or debit card payments.

Sellers pay a blanket 1.9% per transaction on any of the cards, and funds can be deposited into any Australian bank account.

“With the launch of Square Reader in Australia, we’re empowering local sellers with the tools they need to start, run, and grow their businesses,” Jack Dorsey, CEO and Co-Founder of Square. “Our launch in Australia is an important step for our company and an exciting moment for a market so committed to innovation and an entrepreneurial small business community.”

For assistance with the transactional side of its Australian payments service, Square has partnered with Cuscal, the Australian banking services company that has over 40 years of experience in the Australian market.

Since 2009, Square said, it has processed “tens of billions of dollars” in transactions from millions of businesses across the world via its card reader.

In Australia, the company launched its first product, Square Register, in November 2014, and later opened its Melbourne headquarters in May 2015.

“Australia has always been an exciting market for Square to launch in with roughly 2 million SMBs, high smartphone and tablet adoption, and a strong entrepreneurial and startup community,” said Ben Pfisterer, Square’s Country Manager. “Local sellers have demonstrated an enthusiasm to adopt new and innovative payment solutions and Square Reader will build and complement this enthusiasm and extend it to more business owners around the country.”

“We’re excited to bring Square Reader to Australia. Having been operating locally for the past year has allowed us to develop active partnerships with a wide range of businesses that in turn continue to help us test and refine a range of exciting payment solutions designed specifically for the Australian market,” Pfisterer continued.

Square is a “simple yet powerful” solution for businesses of any type and size, he explained, adding that, in Australia, the rate paid by businesses to accept card payments can be confusing and vary greatly.

“Sellers using Square Reader pay only 1.9% per card transaction, and this is the first time Australia is seeing one low, single rate for a powerful ecosystem of tools—from integrated card payments to a powerful point of sale, analytics and reporting tools, inventory management, online invoices and digital receipts,” he concluded.

Image credit: Square


  1. I don’t get what the incentive is for an established small business.

    It seems like the only benefit is more terminals (all your service/sales staff could have one rather than customers having to go to a reception desk) and possibly a friendly service signup experience?

    The local banks already do the same thing, cheaper. Although it is a more competitive price than Apple’s.

    Actually, I do see one benefit.. it’d be good for door-to-door or other remote sales.

    • Don’t knock the “friendly service signup experience”. OTOH, some people welcome the chance to rethink their latest purchase… Customers are the dammdest creatures!

  2. “Sellers using Square Reader pay only 1.9% per card transaction”

    Only? device cost since its tax deductible becomes less of an issue over time than 1.9 however is a permanent loss (and at least double ‘normal’).

    “Australia is seeing one low, single rate”

    Single yes … low no. Its better than some of the second tier operators which can end up towards 5% but retailers here are fickle when it comes to % fee’s. Ye olde EFTPOS terminal comes with much better rates.

    This definitely will have its niche I can see anyone remotely mobile in their operations or with no permanent brick and mortar location going for this.

  3. Retailers are always claiming I have to pay an extra 2% for CC transactions and I was under the impression that the RBA didnt allow for padding of these surcharges?

    It is important, however, that merchants do not impose surcharges in excess of their actual payment costs. The Reserve Bank has previously expressed concerns about excessive surcharging in some sectors. Accordingly, and consistent with the Government’s draft legislation, the Reserve Bank’s Payments System Board is proposing changing the surcharging standard with the aim of ensuring that customers cannot be surcharged any more than the actual cost of accepting cards.


    • “Retailers are always claiming I have to pay an extra 2% for CC transactions and I was under the impression that the RBA didn’t allow for padding of these surcharges?”

      I know of some places that charge a flat $1.50 amount per transaction. Monitoring the surcharges doesn’t seem really be effective (but most tend to absorb the cost anyway) if it happens at all.

      CC surcharges tend to be reasonably below 2% for the common ones and depending on the companies size you can negotiate the rate as well (ie I’d wager woolies/coles pay less than 1% etc)

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