Square has joined an increasingly competitive Australian market for mobile payments with the global expansion of its Square Register service.
Square Register turns Apple or Android smartphones and tablets into point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Through the cloud-based Square app, small businesses can track sales and manage items and inventory.
While technically Square’s first entry into Australia, the payments company already has customers here. Some Australian merchants had been using the US version of the Register app as their primary POS system.
The new localised system brings in Australian nuances such as GST, rounding, addresses, language and phone numbers, as well as local customer support.
"I've been using Square Register for about three years now,” said Michael Cheang, owner of Frisk, a bar located in Perth.
“We came across the app when searching the internet for point of sale solutions. We looked into all the alternative options, and ultimately chose Square for its simple layout. We love Register's clear design, fast movement between screens and access to important info about my business online if I want it."
The Square Register launch follows the entrance of Stripe into the Australian market a few months ago. Stripe can be integrated into an app or website to accept payments.
PayPal and subsidiary Braintree, which PayPal acquired last year, have also been vying for attention of small businesses. Braintree customers include Uber, Airbnb, 99Designs and the ABC.
In addition, Ingogo recently announced a partnership with Xero to provide a payment and accounting platform for small and medium enterprises. The Australian Ingogo had previously been known for an app to hail and pay for taxis.
The entrance of Square is positive for the market, according to IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick.
“The local market needs some competition and this is a strong brand with network connections through Apple,” he said.
“It seems as if Australia's small and quite tight market is seen as ripe for disruption in service offer and price. That ought to make domestic players and the incumbents sharpen their marketing strategies.”
Cranswick predicted that the big banks in particular will be fierce competitors. “This market is very large and no bank – as they are so dominant – would easily relinquish business banking and revenues that come from that market segment.”