Since its Stateside launch last month, Apple's mobile payment system has been doing pretty well for itself. But the list of participating stores, while impressive, is dominated by big names in American retail. Thanks to plans to team up with Square, a credit-card processing service for small firms, that could all change and open the gates to sole traders and the like.
In its current guise, Square is (mostly) a mobile credit-card reader that lets small businesses — think artists, or craftspeople selling their wares — process credit card payments without the need for an expensive point-of-sale terminal. But thanks to its forays into the world of mobile payments, many people saw it as a competitor to Apple Pay.
But according to Square's founder, Jack Dorsey, 38, Square is really "a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments". To that end, Dorsey is planning to build Apple Pay compatibility into Square's service, starting sometime next year in the States. According to CNN's report, that will require hardware changes to Square's existing mobile card reader, which is a module that plugs into smartphones. But with most handsets already featuring a NFC reader, the capability might be there to allow for Apple Pay transactions without new Square hardware — or, in theory, any hardware at all.
All that means Apple Pay might become the payments system of choice for small businesses and self-employed folk. And while these developments are confined to the US for now, as Apple Pay still awaits its UK debut, it is nonetheless interesting to see how it's panning out; it is more than likely that the same services will come to Blighty in time. [CNN]