Groupon, which traditionally has tied MagTek card readers to its Breadcrumb mobile point-of-sale service, has struck agreements with VeriFone Systems Inc. and Ingenico to enable merchants to use their payment terminals instead. Groupon’s goal is to entice merchants already using the companies’ terminals to embrace its Breadcrumb service, whose cloud-based app primarily is used on Apple iPads.
Under the agreement, merchants reportedly may use their existing Ingenico or VeriFone terminal, or they may buy one from Groupon for $150 or rent one for $15 per month. They also may continue to use dongles if they choose.
As with all of Groupon’s other mobile payments services, this is going live only in the U.S. for now.
The move is a somewhat significant departure, but also a coming of full circle, in the mobile payments space. In the past, companies like VeriFone have positively butted heads with the likes of Square, accusing it of being an insecure alternative, before subsequently (and unsuccessfully) trying to compete with like-for-like services.
In the meantime, companies like Groupon, Square and rest have positioned themselves as disruptors in the space, giving merchants — many of whom may never been able to take card payments before — the ability to do so, with fees far lower than those traditionally charged by banks.
This — Groupon’s first integration with credit card terminals — is something of a halfway meeting. Merchants can still use Groupon’s iOS or Android apps as a dashboard and way of acting like a virtual cash register. But when it comes to physically taking the card, now they can do it via one of these terminals.
The deal is a positive one for both VeriFone and Ingenico inthat it helps them to maintain existing customers who might otherwise switch todongles to support tablet-based mPOS services. Merchants don’t have to migratetheir systems right away to mobile tablets, but Groupon’s expectation is mosteventually will while in the meantime take advantage of Breadcrumb’s pricingand data analytics.
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