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Mobile payments star Square will launch in Australia today

Square’s target market is small cafes, bars and stores.

When he’s not busy running Twitter, Jack Dorsey also has a payments company called Square which is launching in Australia today.

Its main device, the Square reader, which the company claims is the most mobile and affordable credit card reader available, allows you to accept payments through your phone or tablet.

The reader is just $19 upfront for merchants and from then on, a 1.9% transaction fee for all cards, including MasterCard, Visa and American Express as well as Square’s cut. In comparison, big banks charge you a monthly rental fee for their device which starts at around the $30 mark, a big setup fee and depending on your bank, a transaction fee of anywhere between 1.5%-3%.

Customers also avoid the hassle of applying through your bank, handing over sales numbers and pleading a case that you need a terminal. You just pay your $19 and that’s it.

Using the reader is as simple as plugging it into your device through the headphone jack and opening up the app.

One huge omission with it though is the lack of tap and pay technology, with the device just accepting traditional chip and pin payments for now. However the company says that for purchases under $35 there would be no need for a pin.

One of Square’s other big features is its software integration, combining with the likes of Xero, which enables users to get a quick view of their sales and fees as soon as they happen and removes the need for manual data entry at the end of the day.

“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,” CEO Jack Dorsey said.

“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.”

The delay of entry into the Australian market has been blamed on the lack of back end for payments, but that has now been sorted, with Square partnering with Cuscal, who is responsible for putting the money into merchant’s accounts.

Square readers can be purchased online from today, with availability at Apple, Bunnings and Officeworks coming soon.

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