As WePay battles Square and other companies to grab small-business payments share, it's focusing on a narrow slice of the marketplace with a different flavor of mobile technology.
"When we look at Square or PayPal, we see the flea market or places where the business owner has a location and you have customers coming through at different times of the day. That's where hardware makes a lot of sense," says Bill Clerico, CEO of WePay.
WePay is instead looking for opportunities to offer software-based mobile acceptance for business owners who perform services while the customer isn't on site. WePay just added a new native app for iOS that allows remote invoicing and credit-card charging. Merchants pay $0.30 for each credit card transaction.
"An example [of WePay merchants] would be designers, software developers, your maid, a dog walker, plumbers, folks like that," Clerico says. "For that part of the market online invoicing and a virtual terminal is the killer feature…We think the hardware adds friction to the transaction for service providers."
While WePay is targeting a wide range of businesses, its sweet spot will likely be service providers who work for clients on a recurring basis. These businesses typically bill their customers rather than demand immediate payment, and they also might benefit from using a mobile app to manage their payments as they travel from one client to another.
WePay has long viewed itself as a thorn in PayPal's side—its founder Rich Aberman once told PaymentsSource "everything they do poorly for merchants, we do better." But WePay's deeper embrace of mobile technology moves it closer to the growing field of companies that are staking a claim in the market that Square pioneered.
"There is some overlap between Square and WePay, but it you think about the dongle it's a 'same place same time' transaction," says Arkady Fridman, a senior analyst with Aite Group.
PayPal did not provide comment by deadline. Its small-business products include an online invoicing option for small businesses. PayPal is also adapting PayPal Here to accept EMV chip-and-PIN cards in the UK, which places it at least on par with European mobile acceptance providers and potentially ahead of the curve in North America.
As a card-not-present company, EMV compliance is not a major factor for WePay, Clerico says. Square would not comment on its EMV compliance plans.
Square doesn't have a specific invoicing function, but merchants can manually enter a credit card number in the Square Register app to charge a customer who is not present, said Faryl Ury, a Square representative, in an email.
Square has also launched a number of products designed to make its hardware easier to use, including its $299 Business in a Box offering—which includes two Square readers, an iPad stand, a cash drawer and a receipt printer, all of which connect with the Square app.
Revenue from Square businesses with multiple accounts has grown 700% in the past six months, Ury says. "Also I think the fact that we are working with Angie's List truly shows the diverse merchants/contractors who we work with."