Intuit Turns Phones Into Credit Card Terminals

By  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Intuit GoPaymentEver 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.

GoPayment Hardware

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.


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. drew Says:

    OK, this may be a very basic question, but can I assume the phone is simply the connection, and that no data is stored on the phone?

    What if someone looses thier phone? Can any of this be misused?

  2. Paul Judd Says:

    I assume that with smart phones, the data requires a PIN number or it could be deactivated or wiped if lost. Totally guessing though.

  3. Steve Says:

    The credit card data is not stored on the phone – that would break all the rules of the credit card companies and Intuit would not have gotten approval. So, the app encrypts and sends the card details, but they are not stored on the device.

    It’s just like swiping or keying a card into a POS terminal…..

  4. drew Says:

    Very interesting-thanks-Drew

  5. Libby Murray Says:

    i am not a fan of having credits and getting credits cards.`;;

  6. Wade England Says:

    Intuit also offers a "free" audio jack swiper that comes with the app, however it only works on a limited number of phones. The idea is swell, but they need to make it compatible with the other smartphones as well.