Online payment giant PayPal has begun rolling out its new mobile payment device and app “PayPal Here” to select merchants in the US, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. An announcement was made on Thursday at an event in San Francisco that the eBay-owned company would be introducing an encrypted card reader that connects to a smartphone using the device’s headphone jack.
The PayPal Here app is used to process payments using the device and allows merchants to scan or swipe credit cards, manually enter details, accept PayPal as a form of payment and accept cheques in the US. Presently there is no PayPal Here app for Android devices, only iPhone.
In a press release the company said that general availability will be available to residents within a month, and claims that an Android version of the app will be ready by then too. PayPal also promise that the device and app will be “free for both merchants and consumers, with no account setup or monthly fees”.
Instead PayPal Here will cost vendors 2.7% of the purchase amount, undercutting popular rival Square by 0.05%. Merchants who sign up for PayPal Here will also receive a PayPal business debit card which will enable cash withdrawals at ATMs and purchases to be made using Mastercard. The card will feature cash-back of 1% on eligible purchases, effectively bringing the merchant fee down to 1.7%.
PayPal Here is being marketed as the world’s first global mobile payment system in direct competition with Square, launched by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Square recently announced that it was processing $4 billion in payments per year but has yet to launch outside of the United States.
In other PayPal news the company has also updated their iPhone app with a new feature called “Local” which lets users find nearby businesses using PayPal Here. Users can then notify the merchant when they are ready to pay via the app and the transaction can be carried out between the two devices, much like the system already in place at Square.
If you would like to register your interest for a free reader then you can do so at the PayPal Here microsite.