Intuit Inc. is enhancing its GoPayment mobile credit and debit card acceptance service with a card reader designed to attach to Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

The year-old GoPayment service enables mobile merchants to accept payments via Intuit’s online gateway through a product called the Complete Credit Card Solution, which is available in Apple’s retail locations and soon in Apple’s e-commerce store (see story).

An iPhone slips into the new reader made by Mophie, a Paw Paw, Mich.-based technology accessory maker. Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit also offers card readers that connect via Bluetooth to phones, but this is the first device that places the reader and iPhone together.

Mophie’s reader, which the company sells for $179.95 on its website, does not include a printer, but merchants can e-mail transaction receipts to consumers. Users of GoPayment pay a $12.95 monthly fee and a discount rate of 1.7% for card-present transactions and 2.7% for keyed-in transactions that includes interchange and other fees.

Merchants must have a processing account with Intuit Merchant Services to use GoPayment and the reader.

Merchants also may integrate GoPayment transactions into Intuit’s accounting software, QuickBooks, creating a unified system for viewing most of their transactions.

Products such as Intuit’s mobile-acceptance service provide merchants convenience and simplicity, and the ability to integrate payment data into a single location contributes to the convenience and simplicity for merchants, George Peabody, director of the emerging technologies advisory service at Mercator Advisory Group Inc., tells PaymentsSource.

“Small businesses want to see where their funds are,” Peabody says. “GoPayment can look at transaction data and upload it into QuickBooks. That makes for a significant level of convenience.”

And many gateways offer value-add services, such as the ability to manage an online coupon or loyalty program, which further adds to the merchant’s convenience, Peabody says.

The large QuickBooks user base also could help GoPayment attract merchants, says George Sutton, senior research analyst at Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC, a Minneapolis-based investment research firm.

“On the surface, it is not clear that this will be differentiated from the plethora of other options in the marketplace, from either the processors or the hardware vendors,” Sutton tells PaymentsSource. “What Intuit does bring to the equation will be distribution, with great access to small companies through its other properties.”

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