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Square Acquisition Gives It ‘POS On A Chip’

Square has acquired payments processing company Kili Technology as it builds infrastructure around supporting NFC and EMV enabled payment readers.

“The payments landscape is changing faster than ever — from EMV to NFC — and we know that major technology shifts often leave small businesses behind,” Jesse Dorogusker, Square Hardware Lead, wrote in a blog post. “That’s why we’ve acquired Kili Technology, a company that has developed silicon, electronics, and software that simplify and optimize payment processing.”

Square began taking pre-orders for EMV readers last November as it warned its merchants of the looming deadline: “Chip cards are coming. You’ll need to be able to process them by next October,” read a company blog post. 

Last year, Toronto-based Kili Technology unveiled its first mPOS on a chip solution, which could accept all modes of payments including NFC, EMV, mag stripe and EMV contactless. With the acquisition, Square is gearing up to deliver on its promise of supporting Apple Pay and other NFC-based payment systems like Google Wallet in 2015.

Square’s EMV enabled readers, which are being sold for $29 will be shipped sometime this spring, according to the company’s website. Square pockets 2.75 to 3 percent of each transaction processed through its reader; the company processed around $30 billion in payments last year.

Currently valued at about $6 billion, Square provides for millions of midsize and small business clients. Despite stiff competition from top payments players like Amazon and Paypal that also have card readers, Square grew 50 percent last year from its position in 2013.

After Apple Pay’s launch last October, Square reportedly began testing its own Android tablet based POS system to replace the iPad-powered Square Register. The move has been observed as a precautionary step, should Apple at some point decide to block iPad’s compatibility with Square.

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