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Mobile card readers multiply

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Mobile payment readers, which allow small and micro businesses to accept payments via their smartphone or tablet, are popping up in more places and might one day become a commonplace sight for consumers.

The lastest entrants are PayPal and Eventbrite, which join front-runner Square in the fast-growing category.

Last week, PayPal introduced its reader, called PayPal Here, that allows merchants to accept "almost any form of payment," the company said in a statement.

The system includes a free mobile phone application and a thumb-sized, triangular card reader that can turn any Apple iPhone into a mobile payment system. A service for Android phones is due out in April, PayPal said.

Merchants using PayPal Here can accept payments by swiping debit and credit cards through the card reader, scanning cards and checks using the phone's camera or entering card information into the app. The system also can accept PayPal payments. Merchants pay a transaction fee of 2.7 percent for card swipes and PayPal payments.

The new Eventbrite reader, called Eventbrite At the Door, is targeted toward venues that want to sell and, with an optional wireless printer, print tickets literally at the door of an event. It accepts all major credit cards via an iPad, and the merchant fee is 3 percent per transaction for credit card processing.

The Eventbrite system can sync the data it collects, including customer names and email addresses, with an Eventbrite account to keep track of ticket sales and create integrated event attendee records.

The pair of new readers follows Square, which launched at the end of 2009 under Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Square processes $4 billion worth of credit card transactions a year, according to a recent CBS report.

The Square mobile payment reader is sold at Target, RadioShack, Apple stores, Best Buy and Walmart and can be used with iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Merchants pay a fee of 2.75 percent of the transaction.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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