Square’s popular magnetic stripe card reader plugs into an iPhone headphone jack, giving small business owners who would otherwise go cash only the ability to accept debit and credit cards. But Apple just officially killed the headphone jack, so what’s a business owner to do?
I reached out to Square spokeswoman Semonti Stephens, who said the Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter (like the one Apple is including in the iPhone 7 box when it ships Sept. 16) will work with Square’s reader. But it’s unclear how many people will actually need to use an adapter. The Venn diagram of business owners that don’t support chip cards—which Square accepts with a separate, wireless card reader that doesn’t use the headphone jack—and iPhone 7 buyers is probably pretty small.
“In addition to headphone jack adapters that will work with Square’s magnetic stripe reader, our new contactless and chip reader pairs wirelessly for a smart, safe, and fast experience—no headphone jack is necessary,” Stephens said via email. “Local business owners have ordered more than half a million readers, making it easy for their customers to pay with their cards or phones from Santa Fe to St. Louis.”
The chip card transition began last fall when the EMV compliance mandate went into effect. To avoid liability for fraudulent transactions, business owners made the switch to chip card payment terminals, which are typically equipped with contactless payment support. Square’s $49 wireless reader supports both chip cards and Apple Pay.