Intuit offers mobile payment system for free

The company's GoPayment mobile credit card reader and service will be free until mid-February as an incentive to convince more small businesses to sign up.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Intuit is offering some healthy incentives to get small businesses to adopt its GoPayment mobile payment service.


Launched in 2009, GoPayment lets small business owners process credit card payments on the go by using a card reader that attaches to a compatible mobile phone. Normally, the card reader costs money, while the service entails a monthly fee.

But as of yesterday, Intuit is now offering a free card reader and is waiving the monthly service free for most customers who sign up for GoPayment by the middle of February. The deal is actually sweeter for people who don't do as much credit card business.

Customers who do a lower level or intermittent volume of credit card processing won't pay any monthly service fee. They'll be charged a rate of 2.7 percent for each card swiped and 3.7 percent for each card that has to be keyed in or for nonqualified transactions, such as those that use special business credit cards. A further 15-cent fee is applied per transaction.

Customers who do a higher level of credit card business will still be charged a $12.95 monthly service fee. But the transaction rates are better--1.7 percent for each card swiped, 2.7 percent for cards that are keyed in, and 3.7 percent for non-qualified transactions. A further charge of 30 cents is levied per transaction.

"By offering a free card reader and no monthly service fees, we want to give more small businesses a head start in the new year by enabling them to take mobile payments without any upfront investment," Chris Hylen, general manager of Intuit's Payment Solutions division, said in a statement. "And this is just the beginning. We'll introduce new ways all year long to help more small businesses get paid quickly and inexpensively using their favorite mobile devices."

GoPayment offers a few features designed to save time, according to Intuit. Customers can create and sell from a list of frequently sold items, automatically apply sales tax, and send customized receipts through either text or e-mail. Funds processed through GoPayment are typically deposited into the customer's bank account within two to three business days. GoPayment is also compatible with the latest versions of QuickBooks, so that customers don't need to manually enter their transactions.

Security is covered as well, says Intuit. Credit card details aren't stored on the phone, and the data itself is encrypted once through the card reader and a second time through the GoPayment mobile app.

The GoPayment card reader works with more than 40 popular mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, BlackBerry phones, and a range of Android devices. Customers can also opt to buy more expensive and robust card readers, such as the Mophie reader for the iPhone 4, which is designed for businesses that need to process a heavy volume of payments.

Already popular in countries like Japan, mobile payments are gaining traction in the United States. Intuit is part of a mix of companies that includes Verifone and Square in processing payments on the fly. Since GoPayment's debut, small businesses have processed almost $80 million in mobile payments using the service, according to Intuit. And both the company and analysts see the market surging over the next few years.

"We expect the point-of-sale mobile payments market in the U.S. to grow to $55 billion by 2015, up from an estimated $1 billion in 2010," according to analyst Gwenn Bezard of Aite Group, quoted by Intuit.