By Harry McCracken | Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:44 pm
Ever do business with a mobile service provider such as a plumber or electrician who doesn’t accept credit cards, or tries to convince you to write a check instead? Isn’t it annoying? Intuit aims to make accepting credit cards on the go simpler and more affordable with GoPayment, a service it soft-launched a few months ago and formally announced today.
The notion of using a cell phone as a mobile credit card terminal isn’t new–here’s an iPhone app that accomplishes it. But Intuit says it’s most important to support the phones that mobile service company employees use in the real world–which tend to be flip models rather than the latest smartphones. So it offers a Web version of GoPayment that can work on any phone with a browser, and the list of phones it’s supporting with a slicker downloadable application version of GoPayment includes the Razr and various other flip phones (and the BlackBerry Curve) but not the iPhone. (I asked Intuit if it plans to launch an iPhone version, and the company wasn’t willing to say it was working on one…but it did acknowledge that it was logical to support popular phones, and the iPhone is, indeed, popular.)
Small businesses can use GoPayment without additional hardware by tapping out credit-card information on a phone’s keypad, but that’s kind of clunky and introduces the possibility of error, and receipts must be hand-written or sent via e-mail (GoPayment can do the latter automatically). So Intuit offers an optional Bluetooth card swiper for $145 and a Bluetooth swiper/printer for $219. Both are a lot cheaper than standalone wireless card terminals.
Intuit says that its transaction fees for businesses that use GoPayment, which start at 1.64% for transactions that involve a swiped card and 2.44% for ones tapped in on a phone, are competitive with other card-processing options. Oh, and it almost goes without saying that GoPayment offers integration with QuickBooks to get transactions on the books (Intuit told me that half of GoPayment customers are also QuickBook users).
Looks slick and useful–and I’ll be interested to see if any service company shows up at my house with GoPayment any time soon.