Wading into a crowded UK market, Intuit has launched its app and chip and PIN dongle system for turning mobile phones into card payment terminals.
Intuit Pay comprises an iOS mobile app and chip and PIN card reader that enable small businesses to accept Visa and MasterCard card payments face-to-face or online. The app is free, as is the reader for a "limited time", with merchants paying a 2.75% fee for each transaction.
Terry Hicks, VP, products, global business division, Intuit, says: "Intuit Pay solves an important problem for the millions of small businesses and trades people in the UK who don't currently accept card payments and so miss out on sales or prompt payment as a result."
The commercial launch comes after a successful pilot involving hundreds of retailers but Intuit is entering a competitive market. Last month Sweden's iZettle launched a chip and PIN version of its system, joining Germany-bases rival Payleven, with another player, mPowa, also in the mix.
Nevertheless, Intuit is confident that there will be plenty of interest in the product, citing a survey it commissioned of 1000 small businesses in the UK, which found that just 19% of micro-firms - those with less than 10 employees - currently accept card payments. Almost half of these say they would accept cards if there was a more affordable way of doing so using their smart phone or tablet.
The company has also stolen a march on its American counterparts, with PayPal not planning a UK commercial launch for its 'Here' system until the summer and Square still restricting its service to North America.