Tuesday, 18 July 2017 12:00

Vodafone makes small-biz mobile payments hip to be Square


You were told “don’t be a square” when young, but with a “first-of-a-kind” offer for mobile payments, Vodafone wants you to think inside the Square.

US mobile payments innovator, Square, has teamed up with Vodafone Australia to launch a “first-of-a-kind offer which will help time-poor business owners across Australia start accepting card payments and run an integrated mobile point of sale in their business instantly".

That’s the pitch, anyway, with Vodafone stating its “small business customers will now be able to source hardware, software and payments services in one place – with the inclusion of Square strengthening Vodafone’s stable of communication and business solutions".

Available now from selected Vodafone stores, we’re told the “Square Reader for contactless and chip can be purchased for just $5 (RRP $59) when bundled with Vodafone’s 24-month $60-and-above Red Plans and $50-and-above SIM Only Red Plans".

Full details of the plans and the stores where Square is on offer here.

To sweeten the deal, both companies have another pitch to reduce costs for business customers: the processing fee on the first $1000 in card payments will also be waived for new Square customers.

Ben Pfisterer, Square’s Australian country manager, said: “The ability for a business owner to use Square to take payments and run their operations from their mobile device provides them with unparalleled mobility, flexibility and simplicity, while significantly reducing their costs and the time to set up.

“Our research shows up to 80% of Square sellers had not accepted credit or debit cards before using Square, highlighting an existing gap in card payment solutions in the local market. With more than 2.1 million small businesses across the country, our partnership with Vodafone will allow more Australian businesses get access to affordable payment solutions that will help them run and grow more efficiently.”

Square is increasing access and presence in Australia, with its Square Reader now available in more than 1000 retail outlets, including selected Vodafone stores from today.

Thus the company boasts it is “fast becoming the go-to platform for business owners of all sizes when it comes to card acceptance".

Of course, Square’s competitors like PayPal, on view in places like Officeworks (right next to Square's products), would presumably beg to differ, but companies do love their marketing!

In any case, Vodafone’s executive general manager of Enterprise, Stuart Kelly, made his own power play by stating that “this is a move to put the power back in the hands of business owners".

“In an increasingly cashless society, we want to arm small businesses with sophisticated tools so they’re ready for anything – tools that are traditionally reserved for big businesses.

“We’ve put ease and convenience at the heart of this unique solution – from a market stall to the retail shop floor, collecting instant payments is both good for the customer and good for business.

“It’s just the start of our journey to provide more complete solutions for the thousands of small businesses operating across Australia every day.”

So, with being a square hip once more, Square obviously hopes to add to your hip pocket by helping you pocket some profits from your suite of products and services that you offer to your customers, and clearly hopes to make its own profits if you choose Square’s mobile payments solution.

If it’s of interest to you, you may need to circle this one in your mind to triangulate all the pros and cons as you battle it out in the Ultimate Fight for Customers octagon.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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