Mobile

Come Sail away with Verifone’s new payment platform — yet another Square wannabe

Yup, it’s another credit card reader dongle for your phone. After launching the clunky PayWare credit card reader in early 2010, payment provider Verifone is today announcing Sail, a revamped mobile payment platform with a sleek new dongle to combat the similar offerings from Square and PayPal.

If you’ve read our extensive coverage on Square, PayPal Here, and Intuit GoPayment, you already have a sense of what Verifone’s up to. With Sail, Verifone has developed a more flexible way for handling mobile payments directly from your phone. The company is already the go-to payment provider for many businesses, and given the growing popularity of mobile card payments, it needs to make sure it can keep up with young upstarts.

Sail appears to be easier to use than PayWare from the get-go. Anyone can sign up for the service and use the free credit card dongle, while Verifone’s PayWare was only open to users with “merchant accounts.” Sail is also much sleeker than PayWare, which was basically a massive iPhone case with a credit card reader built-in.

The platform allows merchants to integrate their existing payment and marketing systems, and it also works with third-party loyalty and social media services. The Sail platform was developed via Verifone’s purchase of the online payments company ChargeSmart earlier this year.

Verifone will charge the same 2.7 percent transaction fee as Square, but you’ll also have the option of a lower 1.95 percent fee if you pay $9.95 a month.

On the surface, there’s not much beyond Verifone’s trusted name to differentiate Sail from its competitors. That may just be enough for Verifone though. Long-running small businesses will likely be dragged into mobile payments kicking and screaming — but there’s a much greater chance they’ll stick with Verifone when the time comes, instead of some new startup named after a shape.


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