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​Bank of Queensland targets small business with Square partnership

The companies have partnered to offer small business banking customers a 'one-stop-shop' to get an idea off the ground.

Bank of Queensland (BOQ) has announced a partnership with payments firm Square, touted by the companies as a way to help a small business get up and running quickly.

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According to BOQ general manager for SME Banking Greg Pink, the partnership gives the bank's small business customers "greater access to payment options" when it comes to running their business.

The companies said the partnership is designed as a "one-stop-shop" solution, as it enables business owners to walk into any of the bank's branches and walk out ready to set up shop.

New BOQ small business customers signing up for business banking services will receive a free Square Reader for contactless and chip. They will also receive fee-free processing for the first AU$1,000 of sales.

Square, founded and run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, launched in Australia in 2015.

When the company launched its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) contactless payments reader in Australia, Square's local country manager Ben Pfisterer told ZDNet that the uptake of Square's products had vastly exceeded the company's expectations.

"Already in a few shorts months we've got thousands of Australian businesses already using [Square], which is amazing, and the feedback that we get is really, really strong," he said at the time, noting also that up to 80 percent of its Australian customers had not accepted credit or debit cards before using Square.

"We're excited to partner with BOQ, which understands the needs of small businesses and has a strong resonance within Australia's business community," Pfisterer said on Tuesday.

"It's great to see the bank embracing Square's technology to add more value to its small business offering. Square's mobile point-of-sale technology provides small business owners with unparalleled flexibility and simplicity, while significantly reducing the cost and time it takes them to set up."

Australia is a nation of small business operators -- defined by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman as a business employing less than 20 employees and by the Australian Taxation Office as businesses turning over below AU$10 million.

As of July 2017, 97 percent of business in Australia were small businesses employing less than 20 employees -- that is 2.1 million individuals employed by a small business.

Australia also has one of the highest usage rates of contactless payments. Mastercard reports its PayPass "tap-and-go" functionality is used in around 80 percent of face-to-face transactions; it's a similar story where Visa is concerned, with 92 percent of in-person transactions on the Visa network utilising its PayWave service.

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