Paypal Triangle reader - myndset digital strategy

After Square, there was Triangle.

Mobile payment is one of the biggest and most exciting areas of innovation and digital disruption in retail. {Tweet this} In North America, you will now find hotdog vendors that can accept credit cards thanks to a Square or Triangle dongle and a connected iPhone.

Dongle and iPhone for swiping credit cards

PayPal launched a “PayPal Here” triangle dongle (pictured right) in the US in 2012 to compete with the rapidly spreading Square (launched in 2010). These technologies — in their dongle format — haven’t made it across the Atlantic due to the chip & PIN technology of the European credit card. However, PayPal has just rolled out a device that enables credit card (swipe or chip/PIN) payments in the UK with a palm-sized card reader terminal synced up to an iPhone. I have had the chance to play with the new device and wanted to make a review.

PayPal Here in the UK

The PayPal Here card reader terminal which measures 10.8cm x 7.2cm x 1.8cm and weighs 110g, is small enough to fit into a pocket.

Once you download the corresponding app, the bluetooth pairing is easy. Only the power button on the left side of the device is a little difficult to manipulate. I haven’t tested the terminal for battery life, but it comes with a standard recharging plug. You will find in the app (side menu “Card Readers”) information on the battery level of the terminal. Once the device is paired, taking a payment is literally child’s play. A receipt is sent to the There is also a substantive desktop terminal (Bouncepad) which can be used at the cashier.

PayPal Here download

For a UK-based merchant who wants to get the device, you need to download the PayPal Here app and initialize the PayPal account with your bank account, which is just to establish your banking credentials. From your PayPal account, you can then order the terminal. It costs £69.95 with free delivery in the UK. Similar to the fee structure in the US, the processing fee is 2.75%. PayPal Here will work with Android smartphones and iOS iPhone and iPad.

Using PayPal as a customer

Paypal Richmond Revolution - myndset digital strategy
Paypal Here terminal device - myndset digital strategy

Via the regular PayPal  app, as a paying punter, you can find the nearby merchants that are accepting PayPal with a handy geolocation (BTW, left, you can see that I accept credit cards now!).  In the list around me in Richmond, the other day, I found and visited the fine cafe, Richmond Revolution. When you click on the merchant in question, you go through to an information page, including a little map.  See right.

When you check in to the establishment on the Paypal app, your image pops up and will also be visible to the cashier for better recognition of who you are once you tell them you are paying with Paypal. You can choose to have a receipt sent by email.

Order and pay ahead

Another great function (option for the merchant) is to allow the Paypal customer to place their order ahead of time. For example, at a nearby Wagamama, I would be able to pre-order and pay for a pick up. The app allows you to choose a pick-up time (in 15 minutes segments).

While the presentation could be a little more attractive, the user experience is surprisingly quick and effective. Having not tried out the pick up itself, one needs always to make sure the last yard is seamlessly synchronized. It would be rather frustrating to show up at the location and have to wait…

In sum, the PayPal Here terminal should provide merchants with a superior customer experience.  And, for the customer, PayPal is part of the new wave of exciting new ways to consume. The real trick, as far as PayPal is concerned, will be finding ways to remind its customers of the PayPal option. The challenge may very well be creating awareness and distribution of the app.

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