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PayPal announced today that it would be entering the mobile payment market with its own smartphone dongle, PayPal Here.
It’s a triangular widget that plugs into the headphone jack of your phone, similar to the rectangular dongle (pictured above) of prominent mobile payments startup Square.
PayPal’s entrance into this market is no surprise, but the Dunder Mifflin-like nature of today’s press conference was a little awkward. Still, as VentureBeat contributor Rocky Agrawal explains, PayPal Here is a credible competitor to Square.
Still there are already many ways for merchants to take your money on the go:
- wireless point-of-sale systems like Square (you swipe your card through a card reader attached to the merchant’s smartphone or tablet),
- contactless payment systems like Google Wallet and Isis (your smartphone becomes your wallet, and you tap it on the merchant’s reader),
- carrier billing solutions like Zong (you give the merchant your phone number, and the charge appears on your cell phone bill)
- online wallets like Paypal, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payments (you pay for stuff by clicking on a button on a website).
Check out this infographic from Visual.ly for an explanation of each of these approaches to mobile payments.