Square Launches Debit Card and Contactless Payment in Canada

It’s going to get even easier to pay for anything you may find in small businesses across Canada.

Square has introduced contactless payments for users of their payment systems, and most importantly, the ability to pay with a debit card and Interac Flash. Before this, customers could only use cash or credit cards at shops using Square, and now the highly requested debit card capability is here.

The contactless payment method will require a new piece of hardware that will cost $59 and is available now through the Square Shop. It can accept tap payment from American Express, Visa, Mastercard and debit cards, as well as Android and Apple Pay. The fees to the shop owner stay the same for credit cards at 2.65 per cent per transaction. To welcome in contactless solutions, the debit fees will be waived for all transactions until the end of 2017. After this, it will be 10 cents per debit transaction, charged to the shop owner.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square and also the co-founder of Twitter, launched the new solution at a small event in Toronto, alongside four avid Square merchants.

“Today marks a more complete square. We have devoted a lot of our time providing hardware and software to focus on what matters most: the customer,” explained Dorsey. “Before, customers had to focus on what they couldn’t use, asking ‘do you accept debit?’ Now they don’t.”

The software behind the contactless pay was designed for the most part in Square’s North York office in Toronto. The U.S. long shunned using chip and contactless technology, so it was hard for the Square team to find reliable and talented developers who focused on what the payment solutions company needed. They found that team north of the border, contributing hugely to the success and implementation of the new technology.

Square’s team also knew that working with banks was a different beast compared to working with credit companies. Square approached the challenge in the way they always do: cooperation.

“As long as we have that partnership mindset and move fast, we’ll get more customers,” said Dorsey. “The deal to the banks is that Square can provide payment solutions to many merchants they couldn’t reach due to a lack of infrastructure or willingness.”

Essentially, Square’s contactless payment is a conduit for banks to reach merchants they really didn’t have the capabilities to reach before.

“With debit and Square’s full solution, there’s now no need to send salespeople to your shops trying to sell you new payment methods,” Dorsey as he turned to the Square merchants at his side.

“You’re welcome by the way,” he laughed.

The Square contactless terminal is available to order now and will be available for purchase in retailers like Staples, Apple stores, London Drugs and Amazon.ca in a few weeks.