PayPal unveiled its new PayPal Here, a small business mobile payment system. First shown on Thursday, it’s a combination of a free mobile app and thumb-sized card reader, putting a PayPal cash register in the pocket of anybody who wants one.
“When PayPal does something it doesn’t start small … PayPal does things globally,” said eBay CEO John Donahoe shortly before unveiling the app, and something that’s likely to give the company an advantage over the competition. The company launched PayPal Here Thursday at select merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, with plans to be available to any merchant who is interested in the service soon.
PayPal as a whole is now available in 190 markets and supports 25 different currencies. The service has tons of room to grow, and PayPal already has the customer base in place to make that growth happen quickly.
PayPal’s triangular dongle for accepting swiped credit card transactions fits in the headphone jack of any iPhone or Android handset. Its front slides down slightly to “lock” the reader in place — a characteristic PayPal feels is an advantage over Square, its cube-shaped counterpart.
While the ability to swipe cards is certainly a standout feature, the PayPal Here app is also capable of accepting check and credit card purchases by capturing photos of the check or card in question, and the app can also be used to keep track of cash transactions.
If your business is one that bills customers, then the app also has a sleek interface for creating invoices that can be sent to customers via email and paid using a PayPal account or any credit card.
In addition to offering merchants a new option for accepting payments, PayPal also announced an updated version of its consumer mobile app Thursday. The updated app allows you to find local businesses that accept PayPal payments, check-in at a business, and then simply say “Charge My PayPal” when it comes time to pay.
Integrated with PayPal Here, merchants will be able to see a photo of you and your name in the PayPal Here app, and can charge your purchases by tapping your picture. The entire process is simple and straightforward, with the best part being that merchants are using the same app to take PayPal payments as they are cash, check, and credit card transactions — it all works together.
If you’re already familiar with Square and the Square Register, then a lot of the features of PayPal Here and the updated PayPal app are going to look pretty familiar.
We were able to spend hands-on time with both apps, and used the updated consumer app -– which you can grab for iPhone today — to make an all-important purchase for our San Francisco office at Kara’s Cupcakes. Check out the gallery below for a look, and let us know what you think about PayPal Here in the comments.
A blue triangle-shaped dongle allows you to accept swiped credit card payments using the PayPal Here app