Watch out, Square: PayPal debuts PayPal Here mobile payment system

PayPal-HereOnline payment giant PayPal announced today its new mobile payment system, PayPal Here. The small credit card reader for iPhones takes direct aim at Square, which has long offered a similar device. PayPal says the PayPal Here device is specifically intended for merchants and vendors that do not otherwise have access to a credit card reader, like street vendors, or food truck operators.

The PayPal Here dongle plugs into the iPhone via the headphone jack on the top of the device. A small wing folds down to stabilize the PayPal Here reader when users swipe their card. Using the accompanying PayPal Here app, vendors can enter in the price, then had the iPhone over to the customer, who can add in a tip (when applicable), sign their name, and enter the mobile number where they would like the receipt for the purchase sent.

PayPal has also designed the PayPal Here app to accept credit card payments without the plug-in dongle. This is done using the “Scan Card” feature, which uses the iPhone camera to automatically read the card number. Using this method, vendors will still have to type in the CCV number on the back of the card, as well as the customer’s Zip code, adding another layer of security on top of the encryption built into both the app and the dongle. Merchants can also use the app to keep track of all their cash transactions.

PayPal asserts that PayPal Here is a better option over products like Square because PayPay is “a trusted brand in the online payments industry with more than 100 million customers around the globe and years of proven payment innovation,” according to David Marcus, PayPal’s VP of mobile. Merchants will also have to pay a flat fee of 2.7 percent for each credit card or PayPal payment, which is just slightly lower than the 2.75 percent Square charges for credit card transactions.

PayPal Here is now available for “select merchants” in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong. It will be available in other countries starting next month. Both the app and the card reader are free for approved merchants, who can apply for one at: PayPal.com/Here.

Watch a video about how PayPal Here works below:

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