Just two days after Square announced its plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to the Mid-Market neighborhood in San Francisco, the company is now announcing another move—to Canada. Square announced Wednesday that it’s kicking off its international expansion with a touchdown in Canada as its first market outside of the U.S.
“We are focused on making commerce easy for everyone. Square builds free tools for local businesses of all sizes and types to thrive,” said Alyssa Cutright, VP of International for Square, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to introduce Canadian businesses and their customers to the most seamless and enjoyable way to do business.”
It’s an interesting move, considering the fact that Canada—like a number of other countries—relies more on chip-and-PIN credit card payments than magnetic strip cards. With chip and PIN cards, a modified card reader scans a tiny microchip in the card, and the payment can only be completed when the customer inputs the matching PIN.
We could go into a whole spiel over how the U.S. is woefully behind the times when it comes to payment technologies, but we’ll save that for another post. Suffice to say that just about the rest of the world is jumping on the chip and PIN card payment system—which has evidently cut down credit card fraud in the UK by more than 50%—except the U.S.
So where does that leave Square? It’s run by Jack Dorsey, who certainly isn’t likely to pander to a dying technology (magnetic strip readers). It can only mean that Square plans to (at some point) abandon its flagship dongle in favor of hardware more suited to the popular chip and PIN system in Canada.
Square has not responded to inquiries from VatorNews on the subject, so it’s not clear what’s in the cards, but Square is going to have to make some changes either way if it’s going to pursue an overseas expansion. The chip and PIN system is widely used throughout Europe, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.
Square currently serves some two million small businesses and consumers and is processing more than $8 billion in annualized payments—up from $1 billion last year.
Last month, Square announced a massive $200 million Series D round led by Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management, and Starbucks Coffee Company. The financing round reportedly boosted Square’s valuation to $3.25 billion.