Square made two small product announcements today that should make to easier for small businesses to process credit card payments. The first is an update to Square Reader, the original magstripe card reader dongle the company unveiled as its first product in late 2009. Back then, the Reader relied on the 3.5mm headphone jack of a smartphone or tablet to work with its companion mobile app.
Now, Square says its new Reader has a built-in Lightning connector that allows it to work directly with the iPhone 7 and later Apple devices that ditched the headphone jack without needing an adapter. Although Square has since released more robust all-in-one products like Square Register and contactless NFC chip readers, the simple Square Reader remains perhaps its most ubiquitous product. The new model costs just $10 and is available now from Square’s website.
The second announcement Square made today is that it now supports desktop transactions via its Reader platform. If you’re using an older Reader with a 3.5mm connector, you can now plug it directly into any Mac laptop or Google Chromebook’s audio jack and take payments through Square’s browser-based Virtual Terminal for desktop.
Square is cautioning its users that chip card swipes through its Reader program are not eligible for chargeback protection, as part of the EMV liability shift the US government enacted in 2015 to incentive merchants to switch to chip-supported card readers. Square recommends its $49 contactless chip reader for merchants worried about liability in chargeback scenarios.
Update 8/28, 5:28PM: Clarified that Square’s Virtual Terminal is a browser-based application.