Visitors to an Apple store this week may have noticed a new product on the shelves. Square recently announced its new NFC reader, which enables small businesses to accept contactless mobile payments, is now available for purchase from the iPhone company both online and in U.S. stores.

At $49, the reader accepts payments from both smartphones and new chip-based EMV credit and debit cards. A slim, wireless device, it can sit directly on a retail counter or be carried as a companion to a mobile point-of-sale system. Square's original credit card reader, which gives smartphones the ability to accept traditional swipe-and-sign payment cards, is also available through Apple.

What Apple initially predicted would be a sweeping transition to its mobile wallet has in fact taken far longer, due in large part to merchants' failure to adopt the technology necessary to accept Apple Pay. Working together with Square could give the Cupertino company a boost in that area, especially considering the payment tech company's primary market is small business owners, who have been especially slow to adopt mobile-friendly checkouts. in this arrangement, as Wired's Cade Metz points out, "Apple promotes the Square reader, and the Square reader promotes Apple Pay."

As mentioned above, the Square reader also gives businesses the ability to accept EMV cards at a time when the new payment tech is also struggling to become ubiquitous. As of October 1, 2015, merchants are liable for any credit card fraud that occurs at their point-of-sale if they have not yet installed a system that can process the more secure chip cards. However, according to USA today, citing research, just 27 percent of U.S. retailers had made the switch by that date. With Square's newest offering, small businesses will be able to take advantage of both the security of EMV and the convenience of Apple Pay.

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