As expected, PayPal released its own version of Square’s mobile payments service today. Like Square, “PayPal Here” uses a small dongle that can be plugged into an iPhone’s headphone jack as a credit card swiper. Merchants punch in the required amount and customers can choose whether to swipe their card, use the camera to read the credit card number, or even scan a check. Also like Square, the app boasts tracking features for small businesses and allows for direct payment based on location.
However, it’s super hard to focus on the pros/cons and whether the eBay subsidiary can squash Square, when all we can picture is Dwight Schrute’s moonpie face as he unveiled the similiarly-hued-and-shaped Saber Pyramid. We’re not the only ones who noticed. Verge commenters couldn’t stop knee-slapping over the likeness.
Unlike The Office‘s ill-conceived non-innovation–The tablet computer that slips through your hands!–PayPal’s dongle seems to be utilitarian. “The design includes a ‘wing’ on a hinge to ‘stabilize’ the reader on the phone when swiping a card,” noted the Verge. PayPal’s flat rate of 2.7 percent also undercuts Square’s 2.75 percent. If you use PayPal’s free debit card, however, a 1 percent cash back offer brings the effective rate down to 1.7 percent, the company claims. What’s more, adds the Verge, its “app can be used to accept any credit card, debit card, and also track cash — ‘any form of payment short of barter.’”
But Square may still have the advantage when it comes to the back of a taxi cab game. It doesn’t look like PayPal has come out with an iPad version . . . yet.
When they do, may we recommend the sales pitch stylings of one Jim Halpert?