Square Steps Into Canada: Jack Dorsey's Global Payments Service Goes International

Will app integration prove more fruitful than the Square card reader itself?

on October 24 2012 5:27 PM

Mobile payment company Square has taken its first step out of its base in the United States. The company announced the news Wednesday in a press release, saying that the service had officially made its way to Canada.

The announcement comes after a short period of rapid growth for the young San Francisco-based start-up founded by Silicon Valley wunderkind Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame. Following a hefty stamp of approval from the coffee giant Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX), the company went on to raise another $200 million in fundraising last month.

With the company now valued at $3.25 billion and counting, Dorsey said that he would be stepping down from an operational role at Twitter to focus solely on Square’s growth and expansion into new markets. The company now boasts some two million commercial users, bringing the company $8 billion annually.

In its announcement, the company said on Wednesday that its mobile credit card processor is now available nationwide in Canada. As an e-commerce platform, the service will be monetized the same way it works in the U.S. -- the company takes 2.75 percent per swipe. The company originally announced plans to take the service to an international after its successful fundraising drive in September 2012.

“We are focused on making commerce easy for everyone. Square builds free tools for local businesses of all sizes and types to thrive,” Alyssa Cutright, VP of International for Square, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to introduce Canadian businesses and their customers to the most seamless and enjoyable way to do business.”

In addition to Square’s titular card-reading dongle, the expansion will also bring the company’s “Square Register” app to the new market. Square Register is the  point-of-sale system which the company, much like its mobile-payment competitors such as Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN) and eBay (Nasdaq: eBay), recently has begun focusing on as a way to lock smale businesses into its service as they scale their enterprises. Square’s service allows businesses to keep track of inventory and assist in processes like transaction reports and customer loyalty programs or even potentially feature promotional tools and deals similar to Groupon.

Growing its software and service-based products alongside the card-reading process also has the potential to help Square continue to scale its business to other international markets where magnetic card-swiping is not the accepted standard for payments as it is in the United States. Part of its expanded partnership with Starbucks, after all, involves integrating the Pay with Square app within its own mobile app to allow users to pay without having to pull out their wallets or use the Square dongle at all.

Square’s growth in the immediate future, then, may simply rest on how comfortable the average smartphone user is with coughing up their financial information on their mobile device itself, an assumption that more established tech companies likes Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) still haven’t been eager to make.

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