Mobile credit card readers have started to proliferate in Canada with at least one sufficiently provocative spin — becoming available in the country before Twitter creator Jack Dorsey's well-funded startup Square.
Does being a few steps ahead of such a hype-driven competitor assure any kind of long-term adoption? Last week, GoPayment announced its plan to debut north of the border. But any news that Square has completed Canadian paperwork would quickly overshadow such momentum.
So far, promotion by GoPayment owner Intuit seems to coast on being ahead of the curve. This evidently requires making it clear that the pricing model — a 3.7 per cent cut when manually entering credit card information into the device and 2.7 per cent for a swipe — is not setting out to pinch small businesses.
Yet another newcomer, NetSecure, is squarely focused on the Canadian market. The founder, Dan McCann, conceded to the Financial Post that a face-off with Dorsey's firm is inevitable. But the winning solution will be the one that can assure actual security.
"I don't know how to say this without sounding a bit offensive," said McCann, "but Square is kind of a toy."
Comparatively, would you trust a payment processing service called PAYD? A rebranding of its e-Select service for a hipper crowd was announced by Moneris in the effort to reach all the businesses in Canada that are too small to accept credit cards.
These companies surely plan to cut into the dominance of PayPal, which processed $4 billion of mobile payments in 2011, compared to $750 million the year before.
No wonder the Canadian branch of the payment processing behemoth has turned to Facebook fans to tell them how to liven up its corporate blog. After all, this has now become a field in which appearances are starting to matter.