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Smartphone Credit Payments Go Free ... For Now


Wireless credit card payments may hit the mainstream in 2011, but there's still scope for other mobile payment systems: Intuit, maker of the smartphone plug-in "GoPayment" peripheral, is trying to kick things off with free hardware and no monthly fees.

Intuit's plan is to make it "easier and cheaper" for small businesses to leap aboard the mobile payments bandwagon—it's offering its GoPayment credit card processing system for free to new customers until mid February 2011. The GoPayment peripherals have been around for a while, and are just one example of the number of mobile payment processors out there—with Square being one of the more headline-grabbing examples. The idea of all these systems is simple: They're a challenge to the existing credit-card processing equipment you're familiar with, since they work through smartphones rather than dedicated hardware that's leased to store owners by banks or credit card companies.

It's expected that the point-of-sale market will leap to a value of around $55 billion by 2015, compared to the $1 billion market in 2010—according to analysts from the Aite Group, quoted by Intuit in its press release. This is certainly driving Intuit's decision to promote its services for free—an effort to gain mindshare and market standing (and possibly vendor loyalty). And the company's not making zero money, since the "no monthly fee" promotion only applies for "lower or intermittent" processing volume, and discounted rates of 2.7% for every swipe, and 3.7% for key-entered transactions. And higher volume vendors will still pay $12.95 monthly fees, and benefit from discounted swipe fees.

There's another reason Intuit's trying this trick—which will undoubtedly benefit many smaller-sized vendors: 2011 is the year we're expecting Apple, Google, and Nokia to radically change the credit card game by introducing wireless credit payment technology directly into smartphones.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.