International payment service PayPal has launched a new service called PayPal Here, which allows small businesses to accept almost any form of payment. It includes a free app and free triangular card reader, turning any iPhone into a mobile payment device. An Android version is due in April. The service has launched with a number of merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong; general availability in those countries will follow next month.
PayPal Here enables merchants to accept payments by swiping cards in the card reader, scanning cards and cheques using their smartphone cameras or manually entering card details into the app. The app also lets them send invoices.
Shoppers can use the latest version of the PayPal Mobile app to find nearby businesses that accept PayPal Here and can tell a shop that they’re ready to pay. The merchant can then accept payment by checking the shopper’s name and picture.
David Marcus, PayPal’s vice president of mobile, said “Helping small businesses grow and accept payments has been in PayPal’s DNA since its inception 14 years ago. We’ve heard small businesses loud and clear. They don’t want to miss sales opportunities because they can’t accept the payment type that their customers want to use. They want quick access to their money, a reliable card reader, and one transparent, low fee to process these payments. I’m thrilled to launch PayPal Here because we’ve been able to bring all of these key features together into a product that’s so simple to use.”
Charges are 2.7% for card swipes and PayPal payments. However, PayPal Here merchants will receive a business debit card that offers 1% cash-back on eligible purchases, offering a way to partially offset these fees.
PayPal plans to announce the availability of PayPal Here in more countries soon.