Square Announces Faster Chip Card Speeds

sep 25, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–September 26, 2016 – Today Square, the company unwilling to accept the status quo for local businesses, announced that it reduced the speed of their chip card reader by 25% from 5.7 seconds to 4.2 seconds (measured from when a card has been dipped to when payment is complete). Square also unveiled its goal to further reduce that speed to around 3 seconds as it continues shaving off transaction time through software updates that get automatically pushed to business owners’ devices. (News agencies report average chip speeds anywhere from 8 seconds to 13 seconds, though there isn’t one consistent methodology for measuring transaction speed.)

Nearly one year ago, the U.S. began a transition to chip cards, riddled with hurdles like masking tape covering chip slots at big box stores and lengthy lines of customers waiting at the register to retrieve their cards. “Consumers and business owners alike loathe waiting for chip cards to process. And we, at Square, feel the same. But it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Jesse Dorogusker, Square’s Hardware Lead said in a blogpost.

Square is in a unique position to tackle this challenge because they design both the hardware and software in-house. This allows engineers to optimize the entire system at once and push the reader even faster. “We’re committed to saving time for our sellers and the customers they serve. Conversations with business owners should be about the delicious cheeseburger you ate or the new haircut you just stopped in for, not the amount of time it takes to pay for them,” Dorogusker continued.

Chip cards are reaching ubiquity in the United States — over 75% of cards processed on Square now contain a chip, up from around 40% a year ago. Square built a $49 contactless and chip reader designed for the consumer with a simple and compact feel. Sellers from Santa Fe to St. Louis have ordered more than a half a million readers and are accepting new payments like chip cards as well as contactless payments (like Apple Pay and Android Pay).

Square has seen particular traction with contactless payments at major festivals and events like Coachella where more than 10% of card transactions were contactless, compared to the industry average of 1%. The BottleRock festival saw rates of 14% and most recently at Kanye West’s pop-up shops 7% of card transactions were contactless. The San Francisco store processed 28%, Dallas and Houston were at 14%, and Miami was just over 8%.

About Square, Inc.
Square creates tools that help sellers of all sizes start, run, and grow their businesses. Square’s point-of-sale service offers tools for every part of running a business, from accepting credit cards and tracking inventory, to real-time analytics and invoicing. Square also offers sellers financial and marketing services, including small business financing and customer engagement tools. Businesses and individuals use Square Cash, an easy way to send and receive money, as well as Caviar, a food delivery service for popular restaurants. Square was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

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Square, Inc.