PayPal launches credit card-reading iPhone accessory
Today PayPal announced an accessory and app called Here, which enables card, cheque, and PayPal transactions through an iPhone. Whoever's taking the order just opens the app and taps whatever menu items they have registered. The buyer can sign for any of the payment methods with their finger on the iPhone's touchscreen, and have receipts texted to them. There's even support for tips. On the merchant side, invoices are saved for future reference without any cost, though they will be paying a 2.7% fee per transaction. The accessory is a pretty simple blue triangle with a little flap to keep it from spinning in the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Sounds an awful lot like Square? You betcha. The difference here is that a lot of people are already active with PayPal, and trust them for handling cash (for better or worse). PayPal has already been fairly active in the realm of mobile payments, but this is a big step towards bridging the gap to mainstream payment methods. NFC adoption is still a long ways off, and I suspect systems like PayPal Here will see reasonable popularity before NFC does.
The initial launch for PayPal Here will be in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong, with select partners using the system now, and wider availability in those countries starting in April. Supported credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Merchants interested in signing up can head on over to the PayPal Here minisite.
Source: The PayPal Blog