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PayPal turns smartphones into checkout tills

Android and iOS swipe-and-go small biz boon

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PayPal has announced a card reader for Android and iOS phones, turning them into mobile payment systems.

Called PayPal Here, the triangular device plugs into the phone via a jack and allows merchants to swipe credit cards and accept PayPal payments.

The accompanying Here app also allows the phone's camera to scan and process cards and cheques. The reader is also encrypted.

PayPal Here will initially be offered on Apple iOS 4.0 iPhones and later versions, and will later become available on any Google Android device, PayPal said. The iPhone version of the app is currently in testing with what eBay’s payment arm called “a small set of merchants.”

PayPal’s vice president of mobile David Marcus said on the company’s blog here his company’s mobile payment system differs to theirs because it comes with the PayPal “trusted brand” in online payments.

In February, the UK’s Barclays Bank released Pingit, an application for Android, iOS and Blackberry that allows you to send and receive up to £300. ®

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