For years, major high street stores have been able to accept credit card payments. Unfortunately, some smaller businesses have not been able to justify the costs (eg terminal rental fees, telephone landline rental) associated with such payment methods, resulting in a loss of sales. Additionally, some smaller businesses are finding it difficult to be ‘accepted’ by the Merchant companies due to poor credit ratings, or a transaction volume that is too low . Accepting card payments appears to have been an exclusive club – until now.

Paypal is launching Paypal Here, which will be available to selected UK businesses over the coming months before becoming generally available in the summer. Paypal Here will allow any business to accept Paypal, credit and debit card payments simply and securely on the go.

The business will download the PayPal Here app, and sign up for the device right there. There’s no contract or ongoing fees, just the initial purchase price and a “small” fee for each transaction. The device is then paired with your smartphone using bluetooth technology to accept secure payments anytime, anywhere you trade, whether at a market stall, shop, restaurants, taxi or even in the customer’s home. As well as taking card and PayPal payments, the system allows you to send invoices and receipts wherever you do business.

The system has already been tested by a business in Londons Borough Market and they reported that it was great for business – cash is king in the market, and often customers would run out of money and sales would be lost. Giving the option of payment by card resulted in additional sales that would otherwise have been lost.

In theory this seems a great idea. Paypal Here may be able to break the stranglehold that the large merchant service companies have on this market. Many customers will already have experience with Paypal, being the preferred payment choice with ebay and other online enterprises that have chosen not to go down the merchant services route. The main issues for small businesses will probably be the ‘one-off’ cost of the terminal and the ‘small’ (details yet to be released) transaction fees.  One thing is for sure – the business will need to keep their mobile phone full of charge!!!

Paypal is also pioneering payment via ’check-in’ – a quick tap in a mobile phone app to check in and pay a local business. This opens up so many possibilities for making life quicker and easier: for example, ordering your drink or lunch ready for collection, beating the queue.

Anyone interested in finding out more about PayPal Here can register their interest and get all the facts here.