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​Square Reader arrives in Australia with Cuscal

Square Reader has launched in Australia allowing merchants to accept credit and debit card payments from their iOS and Android smartphone or tablet.

Californian-based payments technology firm Square has partnered with transactional banking services company Cuscal to launch Square Reader in Australia.

The Square Reader is a credit and debit card reader that allows merchants to accept payments on their smartphone or tablet device. It plugs directly into the headphone jack of any iOS or Android device, and via the free Register point-of-sale app merchants can accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit or debit card payments. Merchants are charged 1.9 percent per transaction before the funds are deposited into a merchant's bank account of choice.

The company said the Square Reader has been designed for a variety of businesses including cafes, bars, tradespeople, photographers, food trucks, market stall holders, and retail stores.

The release of Square Reader in Australia comes after the company locally launched Square Register back in November 2014.

Square Australia country manager Ben Pfisterer said the launch of Square Reader was a logical step for the company given Australia has 2 million SMBs, high smartphone and tablet adoption, and a strong startup community.

He added the idea behind Square Reader is to remove the complexities for merchants when accepting card payments as it can be "incredibly confusing".

"We're excited to remove all the complexity that comes with accepting card payments and offer Australian businesses the tools to be innovative and provide an enhanced customer experience. The launch of Square Reader complements our powerful ecosystem of tools and marks our first payment product in what is going to be a very exciting roadmap," he said.

As part of the launch, Xero and Square have extended their partnership to Australia. This will mean small businesses that use Xero will be able to connect their Square account to their accounting dashboard, giving them access to automatic bank reconciliation and real-time statements and balance sheets.

The integration in Australia between the pair follows on from their partnership in the US that first saw Square integrated with Xero's QuickBooks conversion tool.

Square said the Reader is now available for purchase online at square.com.au for AU$19, and will also be available at Bunnings, Apple, and Officeworks stores in the near future.

At the end of last year, the company filed a Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of Class A common stock.

During the first day of trading, the company saw shares increase by 55 percent. This was despite the fact that its IPO the night before was $9 a share -- well below its expected range of $11 to $13.

During the first half of 2015, Square posted revenue of $560.6 million, up 51 percent compared to the same time frame the previous year. At the same time, it reported a net loss of $77.6 million, slightly less than $79.4 million during the first half of 2014.

Nevertheless, Square stressed the increasing switch toward digital payments among consumers and merchants alike was part of its growth strategy.