PayPal launches "Here" smartphone card reader
The profusion of apps for smartphones certainly seems to know no bounds, and while NFC based payment seems set to become the dominant form of cashless transaction, smartphone peripherals that allow users to swipe credit and debit cards still have a role to play. The most notable of these devices is Jack Dorsey's Square system and now, online payment giant Paypal has flexed its appreciable muscle and entered the fray with its new, triangular "Here" card reader, due initially for a limited release.
Paypal, which made a name for itself by pioneering the secure cashless transfer of money over the Web, wants to expand by bringing its simple, efficient system to real world, face-to-face payments, as well. To help pull it off, they approached San Francisco design house, fuseproject, and the result is a system that will, literally, give Square a run for the money. Like its four-sided competitor, Here will also be free, but each transaction will incur a 2.7% transaction fee. iOS 4.0 iPhone and (eventually) Google Android owners in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong will get first crack at it, with other regions to follow thereafter.
When attached to the top of a smartphone's audio jack port, the front of the two-layer arrow-shaped reader swings down to keep the device from pivoting on its circular connector while reading cards. The app that drives it will produce a distinctive audio tone that signals both successful connection of the device to the phone and completion of each transaction - a feature designed to help put both customers and businesses new to mobile payments at ease.
Merchants and restaurants joining the system will sport the blue Here logo and their info will appear in the PayPal mobile app directory. Business owners will have the ability to send electronic invoices with the system which also comes with PayPal's security and fraud protection.
For more on the system's capabilities, check out the PayPal Here faq page.
Source: fuseproject via dezeen
The following PayPal video shows Here in action:
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Its sad that the only way to connect to an iPhone is thru the ANALOG headphone jack! Of course, this is an ugly hack. The ultra-closed architecture of the iPhone really is sad. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple replaces analog jacks with something proprietary and digital - says its better...buy your iDigitalBuds at apple.com for only $65.
Can't they support printing via Bluetooth to a local printer at the muffin stand?
Heaven help if they were American Express... the total fees may add up to over 5% for transactions. Ever wonder why many businesses don't accept American Express? That's why. 2.7% is not terrible...just the cost of doing business and being convenient for your customers (who might not return otherwise!)
iWonder seems to be from some other planet where iPhones don't have a well documented and very capable dock connector. That said, I see no problem using the headphone jack since a card reader is just a very simple analogue tape player, and using another mechanism would have added to the costs of design and production.
It's a bit disappointing that it doesn't seem to have a chip reader since not much of Europe uses (or accepts) swipe readers any more.
Psychology, sir. The two and the three are closer together, lending greater appeal than two and seven, which are further apart. Also 2.3 percent is phonetically easier to say, plus being one syllable shorter than 2.7 percent, both attributes lending greater appeal to word-of-mouth marketing... the best kind.
Additionally, people want to be with a familiar winner that apppeals to the Genesis of their learning. If people conclude in their mind that "They're number one because they're 2.3 percent," the sequential familiarity of the numbers in that thought will increase the desire to be associated with both the company and product, irrespective of whether the person is presently associated or not. The result of this appeal will increase both customer retention and new customers.