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New Square card reader opens up potential European expansion

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Square has announced a new mobile card reader that could carry the mobile payments service to Europe and the UK for the first time.

Small businesses in the US, Canada, and Japan have been using the Square Reader for some time now. This neat little device plugs into an iOS or Android device's headphone socket, and effectively turns it into a credit card reader for the handling of payments.

The trouble is, these Square Readers can only detect cards using the old magnetic strip technology, which is still in use in the aforementioned countries. This means that we Europeans, with our sophisticated chip-and-pin payment methods, have been unable to join the party.

Now Square has announced the launch of an EMV-capable (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) Square Reader, which will launch later this year for pre-order.

As before, the main appeal of the new Square EMV Reader besides its portability will be its affordability, with traditional EMV payment systems costing businesses hundreds of dollars and requiring lengthy contracts.

Admittedly, this move appears to have been taken less with an eye on a European roll-out and more with a view to imminent changes in US legislation. From October 1, 2015, US businesses will effectively have to support chip-and-pin payment methods, or else find themselves held liable in any related fraud cases.

But regardless of that, the launch of Square's new card reader will see the removal of a major obstruction to a European launch.

Read More: Amazon to launch credit card reader

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