T-Mobile offering free Square payment readers

T-Mobile offering Square readers

Mobile operator T-Mobile is offering its business customers a Square card reader for free when they upgrade to a 4G smartphone in what will come as a welcome publicity boost for the firm, as it continues gaining traction in the mobile payments market. Now claiming to process more than USD4m in payments per day and recently boosted by a multi-million dollar investment from Sir Richard Branson, Square is proving that there is space for its product in a space increasingly dominated with the hype surrounding NFC services. Meanwhile T-Mobile, a member of the Isis mobile payments platform, is looking to expand its footprint in the digital payment space, forecast to be worth USD670bn by 2016.

The endorsement from T-Mobile comes at a crucial time for Square, with high profile tech firms such as Google launching their own mobile payments services. The firm, whose technology can now be used in 9,000 stores in the US, is also benefiting from Apple’s decision to make its reader available in its stores, with COO Keith Rabois claiming that the firm’s reach is now 10% of MasterCard and Visa. This caps an impressive first year for Square as it looks to close the gap on its closest rival in the space, payments market leader PayPal.

eBay-owned PayPal says that it expects to make USD3bn in revenue from mobile transactions in. Although PayPal has traditionally processed payments online, the firm is expanding its payments options, including the paying via a number of methods such as using their phone numbers and a pin, with items charged to a PayPal-associated account, using a physical PayPal card, or by scanning a barcode.

Meanwhile T-Mobile’s joint payments venture with AT&T and Verizon, Isis, is also gaining momentum, saying that it will work with the majority of the leading device manufacturers to bring its NFC mobile wallet service to their handsets. HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, Research In Motion, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have all signed deals with the consortium alongside the four major credit card providers, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Competition is only likely to become more heated, as manufacturers, carriers and payment firms scramble to gain an edge in the fast-moving, but  relatively young, in the mobile payment sector.

Despite ongoing reservations from consumers, paying for items using mobile phones will hit the mainstream by 2016, according to a Forrester report commissioned by online payments firm PayPal. Almost half of UK consumers already use their phones to make purchases, with that proportion set to grow as smartphone adoption grows, according to the report.

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