PayPal releases revamped mobile credit card reader

PayPal has revamped its mobile card reading technology, releasing its new PayPal Here Bluetooth-enabled credit card reader for smartphones in Australia.

PayPal has released its revamped PayPal Here credit card reading device for smartphones in Australia, with the new system to be generally available later this year.

The company says that registrations for the new product are open from today, with devices scheduled to ship within the first half of the year.

It's been just over two years since PayPal launched its first version of the PayPal Here smartphone credit card swiper in Australia.

Since then, the mobile credit card processing sector has become a little crowded, with other players such as MYOB and Square entering the fray – not to mention apps, such as iccPay, that allow vendors to process credit card payments directly on their phones without the use of a swiper at all.

However, one major point of differentiation for the new PayPal device is its Bluetooth connectivity, meaning it doesn't have to be physically attached to a vendor's smartphone. It has also been designed for Chip and Pin functionality, with the inclusion of a keypad allowing customers to enter their PINs.

PayPal says the new system allows businesses using the device to generate and distribute invoices along with the ability to log cash payments.

According to PayPal, the new card reader has been specifically designed for Australia where Chip and PIN has been widely adopted and will soon be mandated across ATMs, cards and payments terminals.

"With PayPal Here we're proud to offer small businesses a solution that helps them take advantage of every sales opportunity, enabling secure payments online, on mobile and in-store, wherever or whenever they do business," said Andrew Rechtman, senior director of SMB, retail and strategy at PayPal Australia.

The new reader comes as the local market is opening up to other players with similar devices. In February, accounting software giant MYOB said it would have a limited release of its PayDirect mobile card reading system in the first quarter of the year, with a general release planned for the second quarter.

As with the first generation of PayPal Here, PayPal's new reader talks directly with the vendor's PayPal account, via the app, for almost instantaneous money transfers — of course, a PayPal account is required.

The new PayPal Here system comes with a one-off charge of AU$139.00 for the card reader and then a fee of  1.95 percent and 2.9 percent depending on the type of transaction.

The PayPal Here launch announcement has come as the company calls on local regulators to play a "key part" in ensuring access for new entrants into the sector.

In a submission to the federal government's financial system inquiry, published today, PayPal's acting head of corporate affairs, Sassoon Grigorian, also called on the government to allow big data to be used for help develop better regulations for the payments sector, which PayPal said has exploded in the past decade.

"The idea is simple, utilize the same data analytics techniques and performance-based metrics that are driving progress in nearly every industry to improve the regulatory-making process," Sassoon said.