Paypal launches chip-and-pin device

Mark Thomas, Greedy Goat ice cream
Image caption Ice-cream salesman Mark Thomas will be one of the first to try the machine

Payments firm Paypal has launched a chip-and-pin machine designed to offer new sales methods to UK small businesses that have previously relied on cash or cheques.

It means market traders, taxis and shops will be able to accept credit and debit cards as well as Paypal payments.

There will be an initial cost "under £100" for the Paypal Here device.

The firm, which faces competition from other similar devices, said it will take a transaction fee of less than 3%.

"At Paypal, we spend a huge amount of time talking and listening to small businesses. They are the core of Paypal's business and they've told us that they want a simple, secure way to take card payments anytime and anywhere they trade," said David Marcus, president of Paypal.

'Trusted brand'

Paypal is offering the devices to a few select businesses before a full launch in the summer. It will roll out in the UK first with other countries to follow.

In the US, it has already brought out a similar device, a dongle that can be plugged into a mobile phone to act as a credit card reader.

Eden Zoller, an analyst with research firm Ovum, said the move was an obvious one for Paypal to make.

"It hasn't released figures about the dongle it launched in the US but has indicated that it is popular so it makes sense to have an optimised version for the European market," she said.

There are other similar devices on the market from companies such as iZettle, Intuit and mPowa.

"It is going to have a bit of competition but Paypal is an established a trusted brand," said Ms Zoller.

Mark Thomas runs an ice cream stall at London's Borough Market. He will be among the first to try out the device.

"Cash is king in the market, but people run out of cash very quickly, and we often lose sales because customers can't face the long weekend wait at the ATM," he said.

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