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Square NFC smartphone credit card reader launches in Australia


Take payments wirelessly on your smartphone with a $59 reader.

Payment platform Square has launched its contactless and chip card reader in Australia, offering it to small businesses for $59.

Customers can pay by tapping on the reader using either a contactless credit card or a phone set up for Android Pay or Apple Pay. The reader can also read chipped non-NFC cards. The company charges 1.9% per transaction for businesses using the card to accept transactions. Rival PayPal, which also woos small businesses, charges 2.6% per transaction, plus a flat $0.30 fee.

The square-shaped device has already launched in the US and Japan, making Australia the third market where it has been released. Square's more basic reader, which plugs in via a headphone jack, launched in Australia in March this year for $19.

The new Square reader uses Bluetooth Low Energy to transmit between the reader and a computer, smartphone or tablet. It will initially be sold online, with sales planned through Officeworks, Apple, Optus and Harvey Norman in the future.

Contactless payments have proven popular in Australia, with a recent study showing 59% of them have used them. Square enters a relatively competitive market, which includes locally developed solutions such as Cash by Optus and CommBank's Albert platform.

Square was cofounded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

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