Aug 20 , 2010

Intuit launches Canadian merchant payment service

By Robin Arnfield, News Editor

Business accounting software vendor Intuit has launched a service enabling small Canadian merchants to accept payment via credit or debit card without needing to install a point-of-sale terminal.

The Canadian launch of Intuit Merchant Service for QuickBooks follows a brief pilot involving 100 Canadian merchants, Christine Dougan, Senior Marketing Manager for Intuit Global Business Division, tells Payments Business. “Intuit Merchant Service is already available in the U.S.,” she says.

Dougan says that the PCI-compliant service is designed for small merchants such as contractors, independent consultants, doctors or small manufacturers. Typically, these merchants send out bills in the mail to their clients, or they may take payment in person.

Instead of having to wait weeks or months to receive a cheque in the mail, they can now accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express telephone payments via Intuit Merchant Service. If they want to accept payments in person, for example Interac or an EMV chip-and-PIN Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, they would still a separate card swipe reader and PINpad.

Registered users simply have to enter a customer’s card details into a special page within their Intuit QuickBooks program, and the payment details are sent over a web link to First Data Canada, Intuit’s processing partner.

“The payment details are automatically entered into Intuit QuickBooks’ accounting system,” Dougan says. “By contrast, if the merchant used a point-of-sale terminal, they would have to manually enter the payment details into QuickBooks, with the chance of errors. And of course, the merchant would have to pay for the rental of the POS terminal.”

Dougan says that the service will not work with merchants’ websites that accept payments online. “It is intended for the merchant who takes payment over the phone, or in person, from a cardholder,” she says. “Since the service went live at the end of July 2010, we have seen some users sign up who previously did not take cards at all, whereas other new users already accepted cards. I would say that the service will lead to a greater acceptance of payment cards among small businesses in Canada.”

For Fran Robson, an Intuit Merchant Service customer, not only does the tool provide her with the flexibility she needs to better serve her customers, it has even increased business. “Customers who wanted to pay for their product with credit cards were not able to in the past,” Robson said in an Intuit press release. “We have included the fact that we now accept credit cards into all our advertising and on our web page and have seen a 25 percent rise in calls within two weeks”

Intuit Merchant Service costs C$30 a month, and the $75 set-up fee is waived until the end of October 2010. Users who change their mind, can cancel with no charge, provided they give 10 days’ notice.






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