updated 12:10 am EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
VeriFone PayWare for Tablets chases Square
VeriFone partly bowed to pressure on Wednesday with the introduction of PayWare Mobile Enterprise for Tablets. The option will give iPads, as well as Android 3 tablets, a hardware card reader and app combination that can serve as a store checkout much like Square's eponymous readers. The VeriFone option claims an edge with PIN-based debit cards and support for NFC devices that can tap to make a payment, such as a Nexus S 4G using Google Wallet.
The new PayWare option earns its name by latching on to some traditional enterprise inventory system and easing integration for bigger shops that may be using older machines or code. Square's method, in addition to focusing mostly on credit cards, is also based around its own inventory service.
VeriFone's plans are early and won't see it start test runs until the fall, with a wider release more likely in 2012.
A tablet version's introduction is a partial admission from VeriFone that Square's success is a legitimate threat. VeriFone initially dismissed Square and conducted a smear campaign in an attempt to scare away Square's financial backers. Square's rapid rise, which now sees it handle as much as $4 million in payments every day, has left a significant minority using Square's usually free readers and apps instead of paying for VeriFone's systems.
Square did make a partial concession in adding low-level payment encryption as part of a deal with Visa but was never considered a significant risk.