It may not qualify yet as a combination of QuickBooks and mobile payments such as Intuit Inc. offers, but Braintree Inc. figures it is on the right path in working with an accounting services provider for online merchants.

Braintree will target more small-business clients for its online and mobile commerce payment processing through a partnership with Toronto-based FreshBooks’ cloud-based accounting service, the companies announced last week.

The partnership allows Braintree and FreshBooks to approach small-business owners with payment processing and accounting services integrated into one software package.

“FreshBooks is offering Braintree’s payment platform to its customers that have a need to accept payments online or via a mobile device,” says Braintree spokesperson Tracey Weinberg in an e-mail.

Small business merchants can operate through FreshBooks and Braintree’s payment gateway and merchant account “in a matter of minutes” using the FreshBooks application-programming interface plug-in, Weinberg says.

FreshBooks has customers in more than 120 countries and has served more than 5 million end users since its launch nearly 10 years ago, the companies stated.

Braintree, first launched in 2007, now processes more than $4 billion annually from more than 3,000 merchants, with $1 billion of that amount coming from mobile payments.

The FreshBooks partnership announcement came shortly after Braintree announced it would provide $50,000 in free processing “with no strings attached” to U.S. startup companies using Braintree’s instant signup on its website.

In his weekly blog, Braintree CEO Bill Ready said his company has been so successful at raising money for its product development that it intends to share some of that money with startup companies, which represent the type of clients that helped get Braintree started.

“While our primary use [for funding] is to propel our efforts to build an iOS-like platform that fuels innovation around the world, it’s also important to us that we give back to the community of startups and developers,” Ready said.

Braintree insists this is not a marketing gimmick.

“To be totally forthright, we expect that people will enjoy the service and many will continue to use Braintree as they build their startup,” Ready added.  But Braintree won’t be asking for contracts or commitments “or anything else that would guarantee we make money from this,” he said.

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