Inuit’s GoPayment reader, which competes directly with Square, is making a significant move in the mobile payments space today, partnering with Verizon Wireless to sell its credit card readers in Verizon Wireless’ 2,300 retail stores and business-to-business sales channels.
Launched two years ago, GoPayment offers a complimentary app and credit card reader to allow small businesses to conduct charges via their smartphones. GoPayment is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry phones and the card reader simply plugs into the audio jack of a phone or tablet. The credit card data is also encrypted, (and never stored on the phone).
Now, GoPayment will be offered in retail outlets and on Verizon Wireless’ website for $29.97 but you can receive the reader for free with activation of a GoPayment account and a mail-in rebate for the purchase price. Similar to Square, the GoPayment mobile payment app is free and the basic service has no monthly, transaction or cancellation fees, and offers a 2.7 percent rate for swiped transactions. Intuit and Square actually both eliminated the per transaction fee.
While Square’ reader has been free for some time now, it was only in the past year that Intuit shifted its model to offer the its GoPayment card reader for free. A paid version of GoPayment is also available for more high-use businesses for $12.95 a month and provides rate of 1.7 percent for swiped transactions. With the partnership, Intuit is offering Verizon Wireless customers two months of free service when they select this monthly paid plan.
Verizon says that customers who purchase a smartphone for their GoPayment use will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 for monthly access. Tablet and smartphone users require a data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2GB of data.
Chris Hylen, general manager of Intuit’s Payment Solutions division, frames the partnership around attracting small businesses that are using Verizon Wireless’s smartphones or tablets. And a move to Verizon makes sense considering that the carrier features the iPhone, Android phones and BlackBerries. It’s also important to note that this is GoPayment’s second retail availability—Intuit’s reader is available on Apple’s retail site (as is Square and VeriFone). For basis of comaprison, Square’s device is selling at the Apple store for $9.95 but users get a $10 square credit when they sign up for an account.
Hylen explains: “Rather than lose out on potential business, anyone who sells a product or a service can now easily and affordably give their customers the option of paying with plastic…GoPayment is meeting a huge need and is one of the fastest growing mobile payment solutions in the market. With Verizon Wireless, we’ll help even more people discover that they too can process credit card payments on the phones or tablets they already own.”
Of course, a vote of confidence by a carrier as popular as Verizon is sure to help GoPayment remain competitive with Square, who took an investment from Visa recently, as well as VeriFone and other smaller players like Erply.
Hylen tells us that there are number of reasons to choose GoPayment over competitors, including Intuit’s ‘trusted brand,’ the company’s ‘focus on consumers,’ 24-hour customer service support, security, and most importantly, the integration with Intuit’s immensely popular accounting software Quickbooks. GoPayment can also sync transactions with recent versions of QuickBooks. GoPayment also supports up to 50 users on one account, which is ideal for businesses with multiple employees who work in the field.
GoPayment is actually one of Intuit’s fastest growing businesses and Hylen says the service is on track to process over $1 billion in transactions for the year. Intuit declined to reveal how many businesses are using GoPayment but did say that customer acquisition has gone up by eight times since January.
Intuit says that it will consider similar partnerships in the future. I will say that the whole rebate trap does throw me off a bit, and considering that many people forget to send in their rebates, the credit option that Square adopted with their Apple deal seems like a better fit for the consumer. But there’s no doubt that an endorsement from a carrier is a win for Intuit’s GoPayment and should help boost usage.