Square co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Photograph by Art Streiber
By Leena Rao
June 8, 2015

At Apple’s developer conference in San Francisco today, the company announced it has partnered with Square to develop a new version of hardware that lets consumers use Apple Pay in stores with a Square point-of-sale system.

Square is offering the first, new 250,000 Apple Pay readers to its customers for free. Apple says that the move helps expand the use of mobile payments.

Fortune sat down with Square’s founder Jack Dorsey to hear more about the new hardware, NFC and EMV integration, and more. Near field communication technology, known as NFC, allows for people to use their phones to pay for an item by touching their device to a reader at a point of sale register. NFC powers both Apple and Google’s mobile payments services. EMV is a more secure technical standard for credit cards that includes computer chips to authenticate card transactions.
What are the key differences between the old reader and the new reader?

What we announced today is a wireless card reader that enables any seller to accept NFC and Apple Pay or EMV-enabled chip cards. We also offer a reader that plugs into an Android or iPhone’s audio jack that accepts chip cards, as well as one that also plugs into a phone’s jack that swipes credit cards.

 

 

How closely did you work with Apple on the development?

Apple has put forth a standard with Apple Pay, and we worked closely with Apple on the implementation of this standard. In particular, we focused on speed with the wireless reader. For example, you don’t have to sign your name for completing transactions. That’s because there’s more security in the phone that confirms your identity.

Will the new Square reader accept Android Pay?

It accepts any payment technology that meets NFC standards, including Android Pay.

Will Square Stands, the iPad point of sale register developed by Square, be updated with NFC and chip technology?

Square Stands will not be updated with NFC and chip technology, but merchants can use Stand with the wireless reader.

How long is the battery life for the wireless reader?

It has a great battery life, but we’re not releasing the battery life length right now.

How long has Square been contemplating NFC?

We’ve been thinking about NFC from day one at the company. Year after year, we decided to not build an NFC reader, because there was no critical mass—until now.

 

 

Will you deploy a sales force to market the new reader?

We need to push hard on getting readers to businesses, which is why we are giving 250,000 of the first wireless readers away for free. We will also do our standard sales and marketing push. And come fall, the wireless readers will be available to purchase in Apple’s retail stores.

Do you see merchants using both a card reader and wireless reader?

We imagine the mag stripe reader will stick around for a bit and our sellers will still be using them. But we want to do our part to push more safe and secure ways to pay, and that’s through NFC and EMV-enabled chip cards.

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