PayAnywhere's Mobile Credit Card Reader Stands Out

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Payment card swipers

are popular at CES this year, and they've certainly have been popping up at storefronts over the past year or so. PayAnywhere intends to outpace the popular Square app by offering rich features for business owners and addressing consumers' security concerns.

Like Square and Intuit GoPayment, Pay Anywhere gives away its card-swiping accessory for free with app registration. From there, it charges a 2.69 percent fee per transaction, lower than the fees both for Square (2.75 percent) and Intuit GoPayment (2.7 percent for card swipes and 3.7 percent if you manually key in the card number).

[Related story: Square vs. Intuit GoPayment, Compared]

The app is available on iOS and Android (including 7 and 10-inch tablets), with the latest version coming in two weeks along with a new BlackBerry app.

A demonstration of the app on the CES show floor showed a simple user interface. It lets you set up a point-of-sale (POS) system with fixed items--useful, for example, if the restaurant you run offers the same menu every day. Merchants can log in from anywhere and receive alerts for duplicate transactions or unusually high receipt averages, which is great if you oversee a number of employees.

PayAnywhere is PCI-compliant and encrypts data at every transaction, important if your customers are hesitant about entrusting their credit-card information to such a new technology. In contrast, Square received a hand-slap in early May 2011, when security company viaForensics found that the app failed to securely store the last four digits of a customer’s credit card number.

Another big perk is that PayAnywhere lets you record transactions offline, processing them when you’re connected again--which neither Square or Intuit’s GoPay can offer. And, you can set up the app to print hard-copy receipts for customers on thermal paper (great for restaurants, again), or from any wireless printer, or have a copy of the receipt emailed to the customer. PayAnywhere doesn’t store email addresses with credit card numbers, which is good for security, although frequent customers might be turned off by having to input their email at every transaction. Finally, all your transactions can be imported into QuickBooks from your mobile device for accounting.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.

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