Paypal Responds to Square with a Triangle

Daniel Gualtieri by on Mar 19, 2012

altThe mobile payment landscape currently resembles the Wild West with giant corporations, social media outlets and ambitious upstarts all vying to become the payment method of choice. PayPal is the newest entrant in the mobile payment market, throwing its hat into the ring with the release of the PayPal Here app and its own triangular mobile card reader.

PayPal’s app and mobile card reader are taking direct aim at industry leader Square and its over 100 million merchants. Intuit’s popular GoPayment app is also in the global e-commerce giant’s crosshairs.  PayPal’s triangular mobile card reader is similar to readers from Square and Intuit in that they offer users three key advantages:

1. The Dongle (card-swiping attachment) is provided free of charge.
2. Customers can swipe card of choice through the accompanying dongle.
3. Customers can enter email address or phone number and receive an invoice.

alt

Square, Intuit GoPayment & PayPal Here User Interfaces (Left to Right)

PayPal Ups The Ante
The PayPal Here app also caters to merchants that would rather not use a reader at all. The app allows merchants to process a payment at the point of sale by taking a picture of a customer’s credit card or check. This “swipeless” payment feature coupled with the company’s long established e-commerce services allow PayPal to provide merchants with a variety of options not offered by Intuit or Square.

Closing Thoughts
If PayPal can get their app and reader out to enough merchants, they could lay the groundwork for a future NFC app which would place a target on the backs of traditional banking and credit card firms.   Before they can do that they will need to conquer both Square and Intuit, two companies that have a head start in the space. 

Despite becoming available only recently, PayPal Here has a good chance to eclipse Square and GoPayment for two reasons. First, with the addition of PayPal Here, PayPal now offers merchants a comprehensive solution that encompasses both point of sale and online payments. Second, over the past 14 years, PayPal has built a great deal of trust and good faith with its over 100 million registered customers. This should not be discounted as merchants choose between providers.

alt