Since it launched last month, Apple's mobile payment system has been doing pretty well for itself. But the list of participating stores, while impressive, is dominated by big names. Thanks to plans to team up with Square, a credit-card processing service for small firms, that could all change.

In its current guise, Square is (mostly) a mobile credit-card reader that lets small businesses — think artists, or moms selling home-made jewellery on the side — process credit card payments without the need for an expensive point-of-sale terminal. But thanks to its forays into the world of mobile payments, many people saw it as a competitor to Apple Pay.

But according to Square's founder, Jack Dorsey, Square is really "a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments". To that end, Dorsey is planning to build Apple Pay compatability into Square's service, starting sometime next year. According to CNN's report, that will require hardware changes to Square's existing mobile card reader, which is a module that plugs into smartphones. But with most handsets already featuring a NFC reader, the capability might be there to allow for Apple Pay transactions without new Square hardware — or, in theory, any hardware at all.

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All that means Apple Pay might become the payments system of choice for small businesses and self-employed folk — provided that Square can get all the technicalities sorted out, of course. [CNN]