US payments system Square is launching in the UK. It’s eight years since the company first appeared and it’s already in Canada, Japan, Australia and the US. The UK enterprise is positioned as the firm’s first toehold in Europe.
You’ll be familiar with the type of product Square offers because there are already quite a number of similar services available in the UK already including WorldPay Mobile, PayPal Here, iZettle, PayAnywhere and Zapp. Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also the CEO of Twitter, isn’t worried about the late start: “”We don’t believe we need to be first. We just need to be the best. The best for us means really simple, really cohesive and people can come in and just get what they need.”
Square sells a card reader and that connects to an app and that means that you can take payment as long as you have a data connection. Square operates with a swipe or contactless and you can also process online payments. The fees are 1.75% per insert, tap or swipe and 2.5% for telephone orders, online payments and electronic invoices. A Square reader device will set you back £39.
Square accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards and is compatible with multiple iOS and Android phones and tablets, including iPhone 6 and 7.
Dorsey said at the UK launch event: “The reason why accepting credit cards is important is because that’s where buyers are going. It’s the instrument they want to use more and more so it’s really a choice of participating in the economy in that way, or not. It’s a huge opportunity.”
One of Square’s great benefits over competitors, he claims, is that you have access to your funds the next day. But that may not be as bold a competitive advantage as he reckons. PayPal Here funds from a chip and payment are available immediately for withdrawal to your bank account (and that can take 2 hours) and iZettle withdrawals come in the second working day after the transaction.
Dorsey says: “The one big differentiator we have, that’s most apparent as we speak to people and look at the market, is giving sellers their money the next business morning. Access to funds is extremely important and typically in the US, this can be anything from a few days to a week after a credit card was swiped. In the UK, based on the relationship you have with merchants, we’ve seen similar.”