PayPal mobile readers seen as boon for businesses, consumers

As more companies begin offering mobile credit card debt processing solutions through new technologies, it will be both consumers and small businesses who stand to benefit most.

One way in which small businesses may be able to benefit directly is a new offering from PayPal, which recently released the mobile card reader known as Here, according to a report from the company. Now, the new PayPal Payments options will allow for small businesses to not only continue accepting purchases in stores, but also online, for an easier user experience.

The Payments platform, which works with Here accounts, come in three tiers: Standard, Advanced and Pro, each with increasing levels of incentives for businesses and, not surprisingly, with rising costs associated, the report said. Standard, which is free, comes with the ability to complete credit card transactions not only in stores, but online as well, though it redirects Internet shoppers to PayPal's site to complete the purchase. Advanced costs five dollars a month but allows users to stay on the merchant's site, and Pro costs $30 but lets the merchant create their own customized checkout page, as well as allows customers to pay with a credit card via phone, fax or mail.

"PayPal Payments is one business product with three tiers of capability to give U.S. small businesses the flexibility to easily choose a payment option that works for them," said Ed Eger, senior vice president and general manager of PayPal Americas. "Every tier offers an integrated suite of products that makes it easy to take payments from mobile devices and in-person, as well as online."

The online payment processor's attempts to branch out into real-world transactions comes at a time when its Internet business is booming, the report said. Last year alone, PayPal processed some $118 billion in payments from more than 100 million consumers in 190 countries across the globe. Of that number, $4 billion were mobile payments, which it has been supporting in some capacity since 2006.

Mobile credit card processing capability is still in its relative infancy, with a small number of major players in the game, all vying for the ability to capture the small business market with competitive processing fees and usually few to no startup costs associated. However, at the same time, a number of companies are developing mobile wallet platforms that may render mobile credit card readers somewhat obsolete within the next few years, though there are some technological and business hurdles that may need to be cleared before this type of payment becomes ubiquitous.

Mobile purchases are generally considered to be more secure than traditional card swiping because of the way in which payment data is encrypted on both ends of the transaction. However, consumers who strive for more security for their accounts should also take the time to read their credit reports and ensure that there are no unfair markings having an adverse effect on their credit standing.