PayPal Here Mobile Payments Platform Aimed at Small Businesses

Merchants can accept payments by swiping cards in the card reader, and scanning cards and checks using their phone cameras.

Online payment solutions specialist PayPal announced PayPal Here, a mobile payments solution that allows small businesses to accept almost any form of payment. The new service includes a free app and fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader, which turns any iPhone, and soon Android smartphone, into a mobile payment solution. With PayPal Here, small businesses, service providers and casual sellers can send invoices or accept debit and credit cards as well as checks and PayPal using one product.

Merchants can accept payments by swiping cards in the card reader, scanning cards and checks using their phone cameras, or manually entering card information into the app. They can also send an invoice and set payment terms directly from the app. PayPal also released the latest version of its PayPal Mobile app for iPhone, a consumer app that complements Here. PayPal users will be able to use the €œLocal€ feature on the PayPal app to find nearby businesses that accept Here. Once customers are ready to pay, they can notify the merchant by a quick tap on their mobile phone. Merchants can use PayPal Here to accept the payment by referencing the shopper€™s name and picture.

€œHelping small businesses grow and accept payments has been in PayPal€™s DNA since its inception 14 years ago,€ said David Marcus, PayPal€™s vice president of mobile. €œWe€™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."

Here offers a fee structure with no monthly account or set-up fees. Merchants pay a flat rate of 2.7 percent for card swipes and PayPal payments. In addition, every Here merchant will receive a business debit card for quick access to cash and 1 percent cash back on eligible purchases. If merchants use the debit card for purchases, their fees effectively come down to 1.7 percent. Beyond the capabilities offered by Here, the differences from other existing mobile payment solutions are that it includes PayPal€™s fraud-management capabilities, as well as 24/7 live customer support.

The Here platform is the latest addition to a suite of payment solutions for small businesses€”from PCI-compliant express-checkout options and invoicing, to debit cards and mobile-optimized checkout. The company said it plans to announce even more functionality to its merchants later this year. €œBecause PayPal offers me so many payment solutions, it€™s really become my one-stop shop,€ said PayPal merchant Aaron Thorne of Hiroshi€™s Catering in Walnut Creek, Calif. €œUnlike other card readers, PayPal Here is fully encrypted so I can feel comfortable taking payments in multiple ways and providing security to my customers.€

The Here card reader and merchant app for iPhone are both available to select merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. It will be generally available in those countries next month. The Android version of the Here merchant app will also be available at that time, and the company said it plans to announce the availability of Here in more countries soon. U.S. businesses can join the wait list to get a free Here card reader via the company€™s Website, while international merchants can register their interest at their local PayPal site. The updated PayPal app for iPhone is available globally via the iOS App Store, starting this week.