First Data Corp. on Friday said it is joining the market for card readers that plug into mobile phones. Its latest entry in its Clover line of point-of-sale technology is Clover Go, a credit and debit card reader that connects to smart phones and tablets via the mobile device’s headphone jack.
The reader, which can process EMV chip cards, works on a Wi-Fi or cellular network, opening for First Data a POS market made up of sellers who work outside of conventional store settings. These can include corporate delivery drivers and handymen as well as booth personnel at flea-markets. The new reader also works with iOS or Android devices and may be linked to the larger Clover platform, according to First Data.
“While the Clover platform serves businesses of all sizes, Clover Go is especially beneficial for businesses with mobile workforces or entrepreneurs just starting out who want to accept transactions while complying with the EMV liability shift,” said Dan Charron, executive vice president and head of global business solutions at Atlanta-based First Data, in a statement.
To use Clover Go, sellers download the Clover app onto a smart phone or tablet. Sellers can use existing Clover credentials to log in to the app or set up new ones. Employees can also download the app and use their own devices, allowing for multiple users. The Clover App market includes a range of POS applications designed for the platform.
The Clover Go device sells for $30. First Data’s pricing for swiped Clover transactions with Visa or MasterCard is 2.69% plus a nickel; for keyed transactions, 3.69% plus a nickel. American Express transactions are priced separately.
Clover Go comes as the latest product in First Data’s Clover POS line, which debuted late in 2013 with Clover Station, a full-scale POS system for stores that the company claims is now one of the fastest-selling available worldwide. A year later came Clover Mobile, a handheld POS device for tableside and line-busting applications, and Clover Mini, a payment terminal for in-store POS, emerged in June.
The market for app-driven POS devices has evolved rapidly since Square Inc. introduced its original mobile-phone-based card reader in 2010. Recent startups are also crowding into the field, including Poynt Co., a company founded in 2014 by Osama Bedier, who formerly headed up strategy for Google Wallet. Last year, Poynt introduced its first device, said to be the first so-called smart terminal to be certified for both EMV and PIN transaction security.