It's not just merchants, issuers and technology companies that are using mobile technology to sell new payment services. As a business software provider, Intuit has been uniquely positioned to link its products to a number of payment initiatives.
"Our small-business customers are becoming more mobile," said Ronny Tey, a group manager for Intuit's Development Group. "It's not just a desk job anymore."
Intuit has partnered on a number of mobile payment products ranging from mobile point of sale to virtual currency. Generally, Intuit provides links to its accounting or other business management software. Most recently, on Nov. 18 Intuit announced a partnership with Revel Systems to launch QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel Systems, an iPad point of sale system for retail, grocery, restaurants and other businesses, expected to be available in early 2015.
The Revel product will sync data to QuickBooks and support sales, payments, inventory, CRM and payroll. The partnership is part of the QuickBooks Online ecosystem, a platform that includes more than 400 third-party small business apps.
"A small-business operating system is all about its ecosystem, and we want to be able to serve businesses in all aspects of their operation," Tey said.
For Intuit, payments are a backstage pass, giving the company a way to add its software to payment technology at companies that are under pressure to provide extra services for small businesses.
"Point of sale is an important aspect of the business function in the retail space. It's the system that the merchant has in front of them all of the time," Tey said.
Intuit has been particularly adept at including its QuickBooks accounting package as part of digital payments and merchant services bundles.
"We share a common customer target, and there are literally millions of QuickBooks users," said Bryan Chambers, director of corporate development for iConnect, a Dallas-based mobile point of sale provider.
iConnect recently connected its mobile point of sale app for the iPad to the Intuit App Center, which enables iConnect's cloud-delivered point of sale system to synchronize payment and accounting information with QuickBooks.
Intuit's partnerships run the payments spectrum. It recently integrated with Coinbase to bolster bitcoin payments, and is a go-to merchant services partner for mobile point of sale providers such as Vend, Flint and Square.
"For firms targeting micro merchants, like Square, it's really difficult to profitably deliver a payments-only solution, so they're working to build out other opportunities to add value," said Thad Peterson, a senior analyst at Aite Group.
Intuit has also flexed its own payments muscle, experimenting with using wearable technology to facilitate transactions.
"Vendors serving the small to medium business space have an opportunity to closely couple their services with mobile point of sale to create high-integrated solutions for their clientele," said Jordan McKee, a senior analyst at 451 Research. "The value of a mobile point of sale solution can be greatly expanded by integrating it with complementary services that merchants already use."