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28 April 2013

PayPal Here comes to UK

Last year, PayPal released PayPal Here in the United States, a small, triangular card reader for debit and credit cards with magnetic strips. The idea was to give small business owners a faster, cheaper way to accept card payments. Rather than charge a monthly fee for use, PayPal only charges for the device itself, plus a 2.7 percent fee + $0.30 for each transaction.

Here is now headed to the U.K., but in a much altered form. In the U.K., and most of Europe, magnetic strips on cards have been shown the door, in favour of the EMV chip and PIN system – there’s a large chip on the surface of the card, and customers enter a PIN number instead of signing their name to a receipt (the idea is that fraud is made more difficult with chip and PIN). The new PayPal Here for Europe is a much larger device (you can still slip it into a pocket) – it’s a standalone device, rather than a dongle that hooks up to an iOS or Android device.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it without a smartphone – the new Here works with a PayPal payment app. Business owners would open the app, enter the amount of the transaction, then hand over the card reader to the customer. The customer then slides in their card, enters their PIN, and that’s about it. The app can work with some receipt printers, but small business owners will also have the opportunity to send receipts to customers electronically.

PayPal hasn’t confirmed how much the Here card reader will cost in the U.K. and in the Eurozone, or what the transaction fees will look like. Those in the U.K. can beginning signing up for the Here now, with expanded global availability coming this summer. If the United States continues moving more towards the chip and PIN system, you can probably expect to see it stateside eventually, too.

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