updated 08:05 pm EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Payment service jumps ahead of Visa, Master Card dates to shift to chip cards
Square, a company that helped open mobile payments up to the masses, released news today that it would be expanding its device offerings with a reader for chip-based credit cards, now frequently used outside the US. While the company states that typical Europay, Master Card and Visa (EMV) solutions are costly, it will release an affordable model to enable sellers to accept the secure payments.
EMV cards contain a smart chip within them, authorizing the card account information when used at sales terminals and other devices. Cards embedded with the chips are currently used in many countries outside of the United States, but are beginning to be seen domestically. The EMV cards are said to offer greater security than the current model in the US, which is based on a magnetic strip and a signature. Reports from earlier in the year indicate that the United States will be moving from magnetic swipe cards to the smart chips in as little as 15 months.
The new reader from Square appears to be similar to the existing modules that plug into smartphones and tablets. Rather than swiping a card through it, an action that seems to be problematic for the small devices at times, users insert the end of the card with the chip in it. The card can then sit in the reader until the transaction is completed.
"There are more and more ways to pay, and with options like Bitcoin and contactless, customers expect to pay however they want; cashiers should never have to say 'We don't accept that'," said Square CEO Jack Dorsey. "Square started by empowering anybody to accept credit cards and enabling customers to pay with their name. Our EMV readers are the next step towards ensuring sellers make every sale."
The reader is not yet available, as the company announced that it will be available for pre-order later in the year. Square says the new readers will be available for iOS and Android devices.