Visa Invests in Mobile Payment Company Square

Square, the San Francisco-based mobile payments start-up that was targeted over security concerns, just got a big boost from Visa.

The global payments provider has invested in Square, adding to a $27.5 million round led by Sequoia Capital earlier this year. At the time, Square was valued at $240 million.

Square said the investment will help expand credit card acceptance to millions of businesses and individuals taking only cash or checks today. A Visa executive will join Square’s advisory board.

Visa hinted that it might be interested in the technology after it wrote a blog post about the company’s technology, which uses a cellphone and a dongle to accept payments. The post was based on a profile of the company eMoney wrote in February. Last month, Square said it was processing more than $1 million in mobile payments a day.

In prepared statements, Square’s Jack Dorsey, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Visa. This relationship will accelerate our vision of empowering businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed. The best way to grow your business is to accept credit cards. Together, we can ensure that all businesses of any size can pursue the American Dream.”

Dorsey is playing a dual role at Square and Twitter, where he has returned to lead product development.

John Partridge, the president of Visa, chimed in by saying: “Square’s early success suggests that using Square and a mobile device, new types of merchants will now be able to accept payment and help grow their business via Visa’s global network with the security, speed and reliability we provide.”

VeriFone, one of the largest providers of payment terminals in the industry, said last month that Square’s technology was flawed and full of security holes. Square said the statements were not fair or accurate.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik