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Summary:

PayPal’s Here mobile payments service is bound for Europe, launching first in the U.K. over the next few months. Instead of the card-swiper used in the U.S., Europe will get a new Chip & PIN device.

mobile payments
photo: PayPal

PayPal is bringing its Here mobile payments service to the U.K., but its familiarly shaped triangular card reader will not be making the journey over the Atlantic. Instead PayPal is launching a new device that better fits the point-of-sale policies of Europe: a card reader with a numeric keypad for entering a key code.

Rather than fit into the headphone jack of a smartphone, the new reader pairs to the an iPhone or Android device via Bluetooth. And instead of swiping the card’s magnetic strip, the card is inserted into the reader so it can access the smart-chip embedded within typical European debit and credit cards, while the keypad is used for entering the customer’s PIN.

PayPal plans to showcase the new reader and service at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, but U.K. merchants will have to wait a bit before they can get their hands on Here. According to PayPal’s blog, the company will roll out the service to select U.K. businesses in the coming months, after which it will launch nationwide. Following the U.K. launch, PayPal will roll out Here in other European countries, though it didn’t identify any by name.

The company faces stiff competition in Europe, with local rivals including iZettle, Payleven, mPowa, Adyen and SumUp.

  1. Philip Charles Cohen Thursday, February 21, 2013

    A PayPal NFC card reader for Europe? But, John “Not For Commerce” Donahoe has said that NFC is “not for commerce” …
    And the ugly reality for consumers, particularly smaller payees, dealing with the clunky, unscrupulous PayPal … http://bit.ly/UVXx53

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  2. Richard Spalding Friday, February 22, 2013

    Ok, so this is innovative why? It enables cashless transactions via chip and pin. But most UK banks offer cashless transactions via contactless (nfc) cards. So this is a step backwards for transactions under £20.

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    1. Kevin Fitchard Friday, February 22, 2013

      Hi Richard,

      This solution is mobile. You’re carrying around your point-of-sale machine with you and connecting back to the network with your smartphone.

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  3. Boštjan Fabjančič Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    A solution with the additional hardware is never a good solution …

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