Intuit has just expanded its GoPayment mobile payment capability with a card reader program that deposits funds into a prepaid debit account with an associated prepaid debit card. The funds can be transferred from the Intuit prepaid account into the merchant’s normal bank account. For very small merchants, it’s a unique approach to making funds available, or rather spendable, as quickly as possible. Intuit’s GoPayment is in a mindshare battle with Square. Intuit’s taken a very grounded approach, one that fits into the Intuit line of small business services. Compared to Square, it’s a more fully found set of tools. But it lacks a few things. No one has Square’s buzz. And Square’s ability to push new software to its user’s mobile devices as well as offer more cloud-based services lets the company push both appealing eye candy (good looking apps for merchants and users) as well as new features quickly. Intuit can do that but hasn’t yet. A little more visual sweetener, and merchant facing advantage, will be important for Intuit in this on-going battle.
Yet, as we have noted before, NFC is not going to take over tomorrow. The financial institutions and management companies can create all infrastructure they want in terms of wallets, offers, and NFC receptor terminals, it will not make a difference until consumer behavior changes. A good portion of that will be the inflection point when NFC-enabled smartphones become ubiquitous, which will not be for several years at the least.
Yet, dongles will continue to rise and there is room for everyone. Square is the thought leader, but it can be argued that Intuit, with QuickBooks, tax refunds, bank partnerships, health check-ins and other management systems already in place, is in better shape to handle mobile payments going forward.
“So, to serve your customer and the people who provide your payments, you are going to be have to be able to do that,” Battles said. “NFC and some of these other payments will offer certain benefits … To some measure, until it is quicker and easier than going to your wallet and swiping a card, it is going to be a while.”