The PayPal Here Card Reader Comes To U.S. With Support For EMV, Apple Pay, Android Pay & More

With the arrival of Apple Pay and, more recently, Android Pay, consumers are becoming more comfortable with alternative ways of paying that don’t involve credit card swipes. And now, with the U.S.’s transition to EMV – smart cards that store data on chips instead of magnetic stripes, which offers increased security – many business owners will have to upgrade their hardware in order to support these newer chip-and-PIN cards.

Today, PayPal unveiled its strategy to compete amid all the changes taking place in the payments landscape with the unveiling of its PayPal Here Chip Card Reader in the U.S. The reader now supports not only EMV, but also magnetic stripe cards and NFC, including Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and more.

As PayPal VP and GM Brad Brodigan explains, consumers today expect to “pay anywhere, anytime and any way they please,” which is why the company needed to enter the game with a multi-functional card reader. At the same time, businesses themselves are preparing for the EMV liability shift taking place on October 1, 2015. At that time, merchants who won’t accept chip cards will become liable for point-of-sale fraud when customers use their chip cards – a strong incentive to encourage business owners to upgrade their hardware. That’s where the PayPal Here reader comes in.

The device had previously been available in the U.K. and Australia for a couple of years, as the U.S. lagged behind in EMV adoption.

But now that merchants are facing the need to swap out their equipment, many companies – including especially point-of-sale terminal providers – have been taking advantage of the EMV transition to push their own hardware and software solutions.

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Similarly, PayPal is making a play for small business merchants with this PayPal Here Chip Card Reader. The device goes on sale September 30th for $49. That price includes the PayPal Here Rebate Offer which offers a $100 credit to customers in the U.S. who process at least $3,000 within the first three months of activating the new hardware.

The reader itself costs $149 – and that’s also the price for those businesses who can’t ring up the required $3,000 in sales to achieve the discount.

The small, handheld card reader works with the PayPal Here app installed on the business owners’ phones. From the app, the merchant can either type in the amount of the sale or select items from their catalog. After pressing the charge button, all the available forms of payment display on the screen, including instructions to tap, insert or swipe a payment card.

Customers can also pay via cash, check, invoice or PayPal, of course, which makes the reader highly flexible in terms of the types of payments it can support.

When choosing to pay by credit or debit card, EMV cards can be inserted into the bottom of the device. If a PIN entry or signature is required, the customer can enter the former on the reader itself or sign using their finger via the PayPal app.

Meanwhile, the reader also supports standard credit card swipes for backward compatibility, and customers can tap their NFC-enabled credit cards on the card reader screen. The NFC functionality means customers can also tap their NFC-enabled smartphone on the screen as well, in order to pay via Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay.

Using the new PayPal Here solution doesn’t involve a monthly fee, and costs businesses 2.7 percent per U.S. swipe. That makes it fairly competitive with other card readers aimed at small businesses, including Square’s EMV card reader which is also $49 (or free, depending on eligibility for a credit), supports NFC, and costs Square’s standard 2.75 percent fee per swipe.