The PayPal Here card reader, PayPal’s hardware device that lets merchants accept credit and debit card payments through a dongle attached to their iOS or Android device, is being updated with support for EMV and contactless transactions, the payments company announced today at the National Retail Federation conference taking place this week in New York. An alternative to competitors like Square, the new reader will allow PayPal merchants to accept transactions via any chip card, magnetic strip, or contactless payment form, including mobile wallets.
Additionally, PayPal announced its Here SDK and soon, its mobile app, will be compatible with Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and other devices running Windows 8.1.
EMV Card Reader
Support for EMV transactions will come ahead of the U.S.’s October 2015 deadline that requires card issuers to move from less secure magnetic stripe cards to EMV-based chip-and-pin cards, the latter which are already widely used in other parts of the world, including Europe.
In early 2013, PayPal Here began supporting the European market with the launch of a dedicated hardware device designed to accommodate chip-based payment cards. Instead of a dongle, this hardware is a larger, handheld device (pictured, right) which, like its U.S. counterpart, works with the PayPal Here mobile application.
Now PayPal says this same technology will be made available to U.S. customers later this year, which will also include support for other payment methods beyond EMV. The updated Here Reader is being developed now.
Currently, all new accounts receive the Reader hardware for free, while an additional device costs $15.00.
Meanwhile, the PayPal Here SDK announced previously as a pilot for iOS and Android devices will launch publicly this month including support for Windows (now in pilot testing), allowing developers to integrate Here’s payment functionality into their own custom apps. That means developers will be able to build apps that offer PayPal Here checkout that works alongside other business-focused features, like CRM or inventory management systems, invoicing, and more.
Both the SDK and the PayPal Here apps will work with Windows 8.1 devices, including the Surface Pro 3 tablet. PayPal Here will also be compatible with the Lumia 830 and 635 smartphones, and Microsoft and PayPal are working with partners like Canvas and iConnectPOS, who are building business apps for the Windows SDK platform.
Undercutting Square On EMV?
With the number of security incidents and hacks that took place over recent months, many larger U.S. retailers have hastened to support EMV cards, including Walmart, as well as Sears, Target and CVS Caremark – all of whom have been rolling out support for EMV at an accelerated pace. But of some 12 million POS terminals that have to be upgraded to support EMV, only around 7 million will be ready by the U.S.’s October deadline, it’s been reported.
Still, U.S. consumers will likely soon be receiving replacement cards from their issuers, which is why PayPal Here is moving to add EMV support soon.
PayPal says it doesn’t currently have a replacement plan for Here’s current customers who are in need of a new reader, though, which means they may have to pay the $15 fee to move forward with the new hardware, or more. At the old price it would undercut Square’s pricing, which Square had earlier pitched as “the most affordable chip card reader on the market.”
The company declined to say how many reader devices it shipped to date, or how much transaction volume its handled via these devices since their debut. However, shortly after its launch in 2012, PayPal said that over 200,000 merchants had signed up for Here. Another window into its traction is via its PayPal Here Android application, which has somewhere between 1 million and 5 million installs. Combined with its iOS app, the Here app has been downloaded millions – likely double-digit millions – of times.