Groupon is launching a new payments service apparently targeting small-to-medium-sized business merchants allowing them to accept credit/debit cards as forms of payment. This swiper system, called GrouponPayments, boasts a 1.8% rate on all swiped transactions for Discover, MasterCard, and Visa transactions, as well as a 3% rate on American Express purchases. With its highly competitive rates, heightened security, and other features, Groupon has become an unlikely player on the merchant accounts stage. Here’s a brief article on merchant account providers.
The hardware for this system is solid and well-developed. There are two options for card-swiping hardware; a standalone swiping unit and an audio-jack plug-in accessory. The standalone option is rugged and durable for high-volume card-swipe transactions, while the plug-in device is more suitable for ultraportable, road-warrior needs with a lower volume of swipes, although it, too, appears to be of a fairly rugged design. Both card reader units utilize highly advanced, best-in-class encryption methods, keeping customers’ information safe and secure.
This new payments system also makes use of the Groupon Merchants app for entering totals, and adding gratuities and taxes, and issuing customer refunds. The system can even email a receipt to a customer-provided email address, for fast and completely paperless transactions. For account issues or technical support, the GrouponPayments support team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by email and by phone for fast and professional problem resolution.
According to the Groupon company website, there are no hidden fees or costs associated with the GrouponPayments service. And while other merchant card-payment services force merchants to wait two to three business days for payments to process, GrouponPayments promises overnight delivery of funds into business’s accounts–perfect for smaller businesses where rapid, on-demand cash flow is crucial to supporting and maintaining consistent day-to-day operations.
Another feature of the GrouponPayments system is the on-line analytics support offered by Groupon. Each participating GrouponPayments merchant can log in to their Payments Center and access much more than just the basic transaction history. The Payments Center provides daily sales reports and allows users to track account deposits. But most impressive is the revenue trend analysis offered by the system, providing merchants with a smart, business-savvy method to track the performance of their products or services.
Many merchants have lobbied for the ability to use PayPal through Groupon, and while this system doesn’t exactly fulfill that need, the new GrouponPayments system seems to be a much more useful and option, going an extra mile ahead of expectations. While PayPal is still a standard in online retail, many have criticized its fees as being excessive and its administrative actions as being overly heavy-handed and intrusive. GrouponPayments system may prove to be an easier and more affordable option for merchants to get their money fast.
With this new system, any Groupon merchant can now accept credit or debit cards from their customers, in-person, for a much lower rate than the current alternatives. That alone seems reason enough to give them a try. But with the added benefits of securely-encrypted transactions, 24-7 merchant support, on-line transaction analytics and account access, and the absence of hidden costs or monthly fees, GrouponPayments seems poised to emerge as a leader in small business and medium-sized business merchant payment methods.
Groupon’s mobile payment system has also upped the ante on its established rivals.