Mobile payments company Square appears to have quietly entered the U.K. market with its Square Register point of sale app for managing merchant inventory, creating invoices and taking payments from customers, according to TechCrunch.
Reports suggest that Square is now accepting payments in the U.K. in British pounds, may have merchant trials underway, and may be preparing to launch a dedicated web presence for U.K. customers.
- A Reuters report says Square also is now registered with the U.K.'s Companies House registry for commercial enterprises, and is listed with the country's Financial Conduct Authority.
This move into the U.K. would represent Square's intial entry into European markets after gradually building its case in the U.S. for the last seven years.
Was it an issue of getting the right hardware for the right market? In the U.S., the company traditionally has deployed card-swipe readers to enable payment processing for merchants, while in the European market, readers supporting EMV chip-embedded cards have been more prevalent. But, Square actually introduced its own EMV chip card reader two years ago.
It may have been that Square wasn't eager to enter a U.K. market crowded with alternative payment options, or perhaps it wasn't sure exactly how it wanted to get into this new market. Some reports suggest the company may have looked at acquiring a market incumbent before deciding on a more organic expansion strategy.
Whatever the reasons for past inactivity in Europe, Square finally may have been urged into action by investor pressure—perhaps not literal pressure for specific investors, but rather the pressure felt by all newly-public companies (Square had its IPO last fall) to ramp up revenue and move as quickly as possible to profitability by penetrating new markets, among other endeavors.
If Square wants a big piece of the U.K. market and other European markets, it may eventually have to abandon the quiet rollout strategy, and start making some noise.