Microsoft, PayPal Ring Up Surface-Based POS for Small Retailers

Microsoft said the same attributes that make the Surface Pro 3 a good laptop replacement can help stores streamline their POS and desktop computing environments.

Microsoft Surface

Making good on their promise earlier this year to deliver a mobile point-of-sale (POS) solution for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), Microsoft and PayPal have officially launched PayPal Here for Surface.

"In January [at the National Retail Federation show], Surface and PayPal announced plans to introduce a mobile payment solution designed to help solve these challenges for SMB retailers, with a PayPal mobile card reader and Windows app designed to work with Surface," stated Angela Lean, a senior manager for Microsoft Surface. U.S.-based small retailers can purchase complete PayPal Here for Surface bundles, including the Surface Pro 3, a mobile card reader and POS hardware at full Microsoft Store locations. For example, a bundle containing the tablet, card reader, a stand and lock starts at $963.

PayPal Here first launched in 2012. Like its popular rival Square, it offers a way for small businesses, casual sellers and providers of professional services to accept payment cards on their iPhones and Android smartphones. The PayPal Here mobile payments app is also now available as a free download at the Windows Store app marketplace (U.S. only).

In its bid to lure in small retailers, Microsoft argues that the same attributes that make the Surface Pro 3 a suitable laptop replacement can help stores streamline their POS and desktop computing environments. Packing a fourth-generation Haswell Intel Core processor (Core i3, i5 or i7), the tablet can run the full desktop version of Windows, and by extension, the massive library of available Windows-based business applications.

Microsoft surprised tech watchers last May, when instead of announcing the long-awaited Surface Mini, it debuted an even larger, productivity-oriented Surface Pro 3. The tablet would later go on to help the company's ailing Surface brand cross the $1 billion mark for the first time during a quarter.

"Its lightweight, mobile design with touch and ink capability, is ideal for point-of-sale," noted Lean. "And because Surface Pro 3 packs the full power of a PC, it can also handle inventory and supply management tasks needed to run the business—there's no need for SMB retailers to purchase multiple devices, such as an iPad for POS and full laptop for operations."

Her argument echoes that of Cyril Belikoff, senior director of Microsoft Surface, during January's reveal. While smartphones and tablets are undoubtedly transforming how retailers transact business, laptop PCs are often called on to do the heavy lifting.

"Laptops remain important to small-business retailers to handle inventory, supply, customer relationship information and accounting," said Belikoff in a statement. Mobiles nonetheless open up new, potentially profitable customer experiences for brick-and-mortar shops. "At the same time, they have quickly realized that tablets can enable new engagement models with their customers—personalized interactions and commerce untethered from a cash register."

To further sweeten the deal, Microsoft is running a limited-time promotion that lowers PayPal Here's per-transaction fees. Until June 15, customers will be charged "just 1.9 percent per swipe on eligible U.S. swipe transactions, instead of the regular 2.7 percent," said Lean.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...