Founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey (Twitter), the American payment service provider Square wants to convince French merchants of its all-in-one solution. Interview with the European sales director.
JDN. You are announcing this July 6 that French traders will be able to preview Square’s tools, why have you come so late to this market?
Daniel Nicolas. Indeed Square is launching an early access program in France, it is limited (1) and exclusive. The first come will be the first served. We have focused on our international expansion over the past four years. In the UK, we learned about traders and we were able to grow and develop our product line. France is a very rich market with its own specificities: we want to work with traders to refine and perfect products, so that they meet their needs. What we did with Ireland in May, we are doing with France this year.
The payment terminal market is largely occupied by Ingenico and Verifone and in your absence other players have entered such as Zettle and SumUp. How will you differentiate yourself?
Indeed, there are many players on the French market who provide good quality solutions. The difference with Square is that it’s all-in-one that allows merchants to accept payments by cash or card, in-store or online. At present, merchants tell us that they use different solutions for different types of payment, which can lead to management difficulties. A large majority sell their products in stores and online.
In terms of pricing, what will be your commercial offers in France?
We want to be a long-term partner, support each client and remove any potential barriers such as costs and technology. Square provides merchants with a pricing schedule that is clear and transparent, before they even sign up. A percentage is charged for each credit card transaction carried out. There will be no surprises.
Our grid is competitive, but we do not share the figures because the percentage varies according to the volume of transactions carried out and the sector of the trader. Some charge 100,000 euros a year, others two million euros, so we adjust the price. Merchants will need to purchase the hardware from Square. The price of the material also varies depending on the type of trader. A bakery in the Creuse may consider a single terminal, while a larger trader will buy several. Merchants who engage in this early access program will have pricing preferences, including hardware that will be free.
“The material will be free for traders who have entered the pre-program”
Your ad concerns a preview for a limited number of traders in France, when do you plan to generalize the offer?
For the moment, we are focused on early access to learn more about uses and get feedback. General availability will come later in 2021.
Square has greatly diversified its activity across the Atlantic by granting loans to merchants, do you plan to offer these offers on the French market in the future?
We have effectively expanded our product line. But on the French market, we are currently focusing on payment solutions for VSEs and SMEs. We may go further by learning about their needs, but today we are focused on this payment program.
After graduating from Skema Business School in 2010, Daniel Nicolas held various marketing and sales positions within the BIC, Google and Dropbox groups. He joined the American payment service provider Square in London in May 2018, in charge of sales.
(1) When asked about this limit, Square did not provide us with any information.