Over the past twelve months a lot has changed with how you use your credit card to pay for things. Almost a year ago, Apple launched the most polished and high profile contactless (NFC) payment system to date. People who had never heard of mobile payments suddenly knew what it was and were using it to easily and safely buy everything from a Big Mac to their prescriptions drugs. This year Google, Samsung, and LG launched similar NFC based payment systems. The second big change in credit cards was the push for EMV chip equipped cards (also known as chip-and-signature). At the start of October, retailers became fully liable for any fraudulent purchases made via a magnetic based ‘swipe,” while fraudulent purchases made via the EMV chip or through contactless payment are still protected.
The problem is these changes all require new equipment, an easy proposition for a large, multi-door retailer but a tall order for a small boutique. Square, whose original phone / tablet card-swipe accessory changed the credit card processing business, has begun shipping their next generation card reader. The small, Bluetooth connected device allows a small business to easily begin accepting contactless payments, such as Apple Pay, or chip-and-signature based payments. Simply pair the reader to the phone / tablet you use as a register and then connect it to your Square account and you are ready to go. Since the system is Bluetooth based, you can also have the original “swipe” accessory connected to your register simultaneously. At $49, Square’s new device is a no brainer. All it takes is one fraudulent transaction and you could be out a lot more than $49! But the tech isn’t just good news to retailers; given the number of Square-based registers we come across in a week, it is easy to see that the company’s new reader could spur the next leap in the widespread adaption of contactless payments.