Online payment processing giant PayPal revealed this week that its chip and PIN gadget, PayPal Here, would make its full UK debut later this year. Launched in the US last year, PayPal Here allows customers to make secure credit and debit card payments at shops, restaurants and much more besides – saving them the hassle of paying by cash or cheque. PayPal says the gadget will be a “game-changer” for UK consumers and businesses alike, and it certainly seems that the mobile payments revolution is really starting to gather pace.
Who is PayPal Here aimed at, and how does it work?
PayPal is pitching Here at businesses which usually rely on cash or cheques. The device is currently being trialled at a handful of businesses across the UK, and it is hoped that a full launch will follow by the summer. As PayPal has around 18 million active users in the UK, it’s not hard to see why it’s so keen to get Here up and running quickly. In order to take advantage of PayPal Here, consumers will need two things – a special card reader and a smartphone running the PayPal Here mobile app. Although the price hasn’t yet been confirmed, PayPal says it will cost less than £100.
What about the competition?
Swedish firm iZettle launched its electronic payment system in the UK last November. PayPal Here is also currently going head-to-head with Square – an electronic payments service which allows retailers to accept card payments via mobile – in the US. Square, established by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, was launched back in 2010 and has so far signed up around two million merchants.
It’s not been without criticism, though. Rival payments processing firm VeriFone claimed in 2011 that a “reasonably skilled” fraudster could write a replacement app which could then use Square to skim cards and thereby obtain their details. Square, for its part, flatly rejected the claims.
International coffee chain Starbucks gave Square its vote of confidence last year by investing some $25m in the service, which is now accepted at 7,000 of its US outlets.
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