Intuit has stolen a march on PayPay with the launch of its mobile point of sale system in the UK, though ownership of the busy market will be decided by the vendor providing the strongest value added software services, an expert has claimed.
US software firm Intuit announced yesterday that its Intuit Pay app and chip and pin payment device is now available in the UK, giving small businesses a simple method to accept credit and debit card payments from cards using EMV chips. Both the app and card reader are available free for a limited period of time following the launch.
Intuit is hoping to gain uptake among the numerous micro businesses operating in the UK. Stats from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) show that there are 4.6 million companies operating with less than 10 employees, with a total turnover of £624 billion, meaning a large potential market for mobile payments companies.
Not surprisingly the market for mobile chip and pin payments systems in Europe is getting increasingly crowded, with devices also available from mobile payments services available from iZettle, which charges £49 for its chip and pin device.
Other players such as mPowa and Payleven have also gained a presence in the growing market, while PayPal announced last month that it would launch its PayPal Here service later this year.
With mobile NFC payments still a distance off mainstream acceptance in the UK, despite gaining some traction with smartphone vendors and various retail outlets, there is a genuine need for low cost payments systems for small businesses.
"The credit card reader and merchant acceptance solution side of the payments equation is getting very busy, and rightly so," Ovum principal analyst Eden Zoller told Computerworld UK. "What is appealing about solutions like Intuit, Square, PaylPal Here, iZettle and others, is that they do seem to be addressing a genuine need in the market, and providing a solution to a genuine problem of small merchants needing to accept payments without investing in expensive processing equipment."
With the ability to take a cut of transactions made through the mobile payment systems, a number of companies, including numerous start-ups, are also entering the market which is expected to feature another major mobile payments player, Square, arrive in Europe later this year.
According to Zoller, it is likely that the company to emerge with the strongest position will be the one able to successfully differentiate itself from competitors, and this is likely to centre around the peripheral software being offered.
"The card readers are all very similar in terms of functionality," Zoller said. "They are also coming in at a similar price tag and are charging similar transaction fees. What is going to help them differentiate and get a good position going forward is the value that they can provide around the basic card reader."
"Intuit is keen to stress the back office cloud based software, Quickbook, that provides additional value to merchants. They can link the reader to the back end software to help with day to day accounting and keeping track with stock and so on."
However, Zoller said that it is unclear which company will be able to carve out a lead in the mobile payments market.
"It is still pretty open. iZettle is pretty established in Europe and is a home grown European solution provider, but because it is such a new market it is pretty open in terms of who is going to be positioned most strongly. It will be decided by how these players can build a value added eco-system around the core card reader solution."