Intuit to offer $30 mobile EMV reader ahead of October liability shift

The EMV reader plugs into iOS or Android-based smartphones and tablets for payment acceptance either on the go or via a tablet-based POS system.

Financial software maker Intuit is now accepting pre-orders for a $30 mobile EMV reader ahead of the October liability shift to Europay, MasterCard and Visa standards.

Similar to the GoPayment dongle already offered by Intuit, the EMV reader plugs into iOS or Android-based smartphones and tablets for payment acceptance either on the go or via a tablet-based POS system.

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According to Ralph Matlack, director of product management for Intuit's payment offerings, the EMV reader is only slightly larger than the swipe-only version and supports both traditional swipe as well as the dip-method of EMV cards. But several design changes were made to make the dongle a bit more EMV-specific.

"Knowing that the mechanics of handling EMV cards will be unfamiliar territory for merchants, their employees, and their customers, we've designed in features like an easily visible LED and in-app indicators to provide visual cues for successful and unsuccessful card reads," Matlack said, adding that the battery was also tweaked to last a full week on a single charge.

While there are several competing EMV dongles on the market, such as iterations from Square and PayPal, one of the key benefits of Intuit's offering is its ability to sync with the company's suite of cloud accounting software.

Both the EMV reader and the traditional swipe-card reader automatically integrate sales transaction data with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop via the QuickBooks GoPayment app.

Judging by available information, it looks like a merchant's preferred accounting software will be the most notable difference between readers. Pricing so far appears similar across the board, with Square charging $29 for its EMV reader. It's unclear at the moment what Intuit will charge per transaction, but the current swipe version has a current rate 1.75 percent per swipe. Square currently charges 2.75 percent per swipe and PayPal charges 2.7 percent per swipe. Neither Square nor PayPal have disclosed intended fees for their forthcoming EMV readers.

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