Intuit Inc.'s 2012 New Year resolution for its GoPayment card reader was to take it around the world. It did so in bookend fashion.
Like many New Year's resolutions, this one got off to a great start and then languished. Intuit started the year by offering its GoPayment reader in Canada. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's next significant international expansion was last week's push into the UK market with a pilot program called Intuit Pay.
Intuit Pay provides small-business owners in the UK with essentially the same tools Intuit offers in the U.S., such as a link to its QuickBooks Point of Sale software.
Such a package goes a long way toward establishing Intuit as a mobile-pay force in any market, whether it has carved out its niche or plans a new launch, says industry analyst Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group, LLC.
Intuit's pairing of its reader with other software and services signals to those small merchants that the company offers more than just card acceptance, Ablowitz says. "When you do that, your offerings can be quite profound," he adds.
By itself, the Intuit card reader allows taxi drivers and other mobile merchants to accept "on the go" payments through a chip-and-PIN reader paired with the GoPayment app.
In a home or office setting, business owners can accept credit and debit card payments online through Intuit Pay.
Intuit enters a fray in the UK and European mobile card reader market that already includes mPowa, iZettle, VeriFone, Appriva, Magtek and others. Square, which has been focused on the U.S., has also begun eyeing foreign markets.
Intuit did not respond to PaymentsSource inquiries by deadline.
Intuit conducted a survey of UK businesses that revealed only 19% of micro businesses, or those with fewer than 10 employees, currently accept card payments. Nearly half of that total said they would accept cards if there was a more affordable way of doing so, Intuit says in a press release.
Every mobile payments provider targeting small businesses has to start moving down a path that Intuit has already established, Ablowitz says.
"They have to start going this way in offering a complete set of solutions," he says. "The ones that do will be more successful."
Intuit products such as QuickBooks and TurboTax provide the company a major boost when seeking small-business clients, Ablowitz adds.
"Changing an accounting system is a major undertaking, and Intuit puts itself in a very good position in providing that service," he says.
In April, Intuit readied itself to improve its GoPayment offerings by acquiring Boston-based mobile commerce provider AisleBuyer LLC.
Intuit also provides debit card issuers a way to compete with nonbank providers of mobile payments and rewards. In June, Intuit Financial Services signed a deal with Cardlytics to offer Mobile Purchase Awards. This system allows consumers to receive merchant discounts from their smartphones and have them applied automatically through cash-back deposits when shopping with pre-enrolled debit cards.