Verizon Wireless Pushes Mobile Payments at Retail to Drive Smartphone Sales

Verizon Wireless will be adding one more item to the accessory rack in its stores.

Nope, it’s not earbuds or a new iPhone case. It’s a credit card reader.

The wireless carrier has formed a strategic alliance with Intuit to start selling that company’s GoPayment credit card reader in its 2,300 retail stores and other distribution channels.

Mike Schaefer, Verizon’s executive director of product development, tells me that salespeople in Verizon retail outlets will be trained to teach owners of small-to-medium-sized businesses — or anyone else, for that matter — how to install the application, sign up, and start taking credit card payments.

Intuit’s GoPayment card reader plugs into the audio jack of most Android, BlackBerry and Apple smartphones and tablets.

And since it requires a smartphone, Schaefer says he believes it could drive more high-end phone sales among small-business owners.

Other devices on the market offer similar services, but Schaefer said Verizon picked Intuit’s card reader to exclusively feature in its stores. He declined to disclose the terms of the agreement. Other similar products are available from Square and VeriFone.

Many small-business owners are already acquainted with Intuit through its line of software products, including Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax.

Andrew Morbitzer, director of Intuit’s Payments Solutions Group, said this is the first time its card readers will be available at retail other than at the Apple store, which was negotiated by the company’s partner.

Verizon Wireless customers will be able to get the card reader for free after a $30 mail-in rebate. The application can be downloaded for free; Intuit charges 2.7 percent of each transaction. It also offers a monthly plan that costs $12.95, along with a lower 1.7 percent transaction fee. Verizon customers who opt for the monthly plan will not have to pay the fee for 60 days.

Intuit is currently also offering a free reader and two months free service on its Web site.

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