Fintech giant Square begins roll-out of services in Ireland

8 Apr 2021

Image: Square

The company, which makes e-commerce and payment processing tools, has begun testing with businesses in Ireland.

Square, the fintech firm headed up by Jack Dorsey, has begun rolling out its services in Ireland.

The US company, which holds its regional headquarters in Dublin, has been operating in the UK since 2017 as its only business in Europe.

Now it has launched an early-access programme for small Irish businesses, such as retailers and coffee shops, to use its card reader hardware and payments managing software in-store and online.

Jason Lalor, executive director for Square Europe, said that the Dublin office has been “very quiet up until now” but behind the scenes it has been supporting the UK operations and laying the groundwork for Ireland and eventually the rest of Europe.

“Internationalisation is a core part of our strategy, and Europe is included in that strategy. We just felt like Ireland was a superb place [to start],” Lalor told Siliconrepublic.com.

Square has been running a very limited beta test with Irish businesses and is now looking for more businesses to expand testing before a full launch.

“Sellers can experience the products that we have first-hand across omnichannel and the benefits of the transparent, fair pricing that we’ve got in place,” Lalor said.

“It’s been going well. Again, it has been very quiet as most betas are in terms of our approach. We’re trying to get a diverse group of sellers.”

One of those sellers is Lennox Street Grocer. Its owner, Chris Arnold, said that the services have led to improvements in how it accepts and manages payments.

“Using the lockdown to switch to Square was a smart choice as we look to the future and post-pandemic growth,” Arnold said.

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Square’s suite of products is made up of hardware for in-store purchasing, software-as-a-service features for managing payments, payroll and inventory, and finally the payment processing itself.

With Covid-19, it has seen demand for tools to manage online commerce among small businesses surge. Many of these are businesses that weren’t reliant on e-commerce before or were new to it entirely.

“We’re seeing a four-times increase in the amount of small businesses going cashless and there’s almost been a doubling of the number of businesses accepting online payments,” Lalor said.

“That’s going to be irrevocable. That’s here to stay.”

Foundation

Ireland is the only EU market that Square is looking at currently.

“We’re totally focused on Ireland right now,” Lalor explained. “I want to get this right here before we focus on other markets. Let’s start with Ireland, do a great job here, and then see where we get to.”

Square’s Irish operations will make up the foundation for the rest of Europe. Last year the company secured an electronic money licence from the Central Bank of Ireland to ensure its European plans remained on track after Brexit.

In Ireland, Square will be competing with companies like SumUp – another company with a sizeable presence in Ireland – and Clover, which all provide hardware and payments software for retailers and small businesses.

Square’s Dublin office currently has more than 40 people with 20 more being brought on in roles such as customer success, finance and compliance for both the Irish and UK markets.

Lalor added that the company has begun recruiting engineers to join the Dublin office as well.

Another of Square’s products is the Cash App, a peer-to-peer money transfer app that’s available in the US and UK. It is a separate business line but the company recently began hiring in Dublin for a potential launch of the app in Europe. Lalor declined to comment on Cash App.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com