Apple Pay is currently rolling out in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, however one of the biggest obstacles that the service faces is still the fact that small businesses can’t afford NFC readers that are needed for services like Apple Pay and Android Pay.
Well, they couldn’t until now. Square has just released its latest point-of-sale device, which is now able to not only take credit card transactions, but also has a small NFC reader enabling for payments through Apple Pay.
100 merchants in “select cities” will be getting the new gadget at launch, however it will likely roll out on a much larger scale in the near future, not only helping with the rollout of Apple Pay, but also being a big push for Square, which went public just last week.
“Until now, technology like our new reader has been out of reach for local businesses,” said Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Square, in an interview with USA Today. “Now Square sellers across the country can quickly and easily accept the new forms of payment that are crossing their counter tops.”
Of course, we have known about the new reader for a while now, which was first announced back at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June. We haven’t, however, been able to use it in stores until now. Customers who want to use the device can simply wave their iPhone over the device without even needing to make direct contact.
Merchants themselves need to pay $49 for the device. Stores that want the larger, $99 Square Stand, which holds an iPad, can buy that too however it’s not required for use of the reader.
Apple Pay, according to Apple, is now accepted in a whopping 1 million stores around the US, including retailers like McDonald’s, Macy’s, Walgreens, and so on. Having the payment method acceptable at smaller businesses, however, is crucial to its success, as well as the success of other mobile-based payment systems like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. It’s important to mention that other NFC-based payment systems are also compatible with the new Square reader.
While the Square reader certainly might be the most popular way for small businesses to accept Apple Pay payments, it’s not the only way to do so. The PayAnywhere mobile credit card reader that was launched in August and costs $39.95 also works with Apple Pay. In fact, according to Apple’s vice president for Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, around 100,000 small or medium-sized merchants are adding Apple Pay-compatible terminals every month.
Part of the problem for local merchants in pushing the use of Apple Pay is the fact that most of the general public won’t know that a merchant accepts Apple Pay.
“Usually by the time you tell people you have Apple Pay they have their credit card out. Hopefully and assuming over time as it becomes more understood that we have the feature, people will use it more and more,” said Josh Kulp, the owner of Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago, in an interview with USA Today.
Despite this, according to Kulp, most people with iPhones and Apple Watches are starting to look out for places to use Apple Pay.
Of course, while other payments services such as Android Pay and Samsung Pay are available, and while other payment service that used NFC were available before Apple Pay, Apple Pay really seems to have been the service to bring the idea into the public eye, prompting other companies like Samsung to release their own versions of the service for their smartphones. While Google already had Google Wallet, the company released a new NFC payment service called Android Pay, which is much easier to use than Google Wallet and is also a lot more secure.
Square point-of-sale devices either work with the Square mobile app or with a countertop system to handle the transactions.
Merchants interested in buying the square reader for their store can head to the official website to reserve their own. The initial rollout of the new gadget is to the following cities: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Seattle, St. Louis Tampa, and Washington, D.C.