Following on from the success of my review of the iZettle Chip & PIN mobiel payment solution, I have decided to go a step further and look at another Chip & PIN solution that I was not aware of until recently.
Intuit Pay from Intuit Limited is a new Chip & PIN Mobile Payment solution that consists of a mobile Chip & PIN terminal that communicates with its partner Application on your smartphone by the way of Bluetooth.
Who is it for?
Unlike iZettle which aims at Business and Consumers alike, Intuit Pay is aimed solely at Business owners. This has allowed them to have more functionality and customisation within their service offering.
Business may question the high cost per Transaction (2.75%) as card terminals from other banking providers have a lower cost of less than 2%. The disadvantage with these larger business-oriented banking terminals is that they have a monthly rental fee for the terminal, and often come with a minimum contract term of 1 year and a minimum turnover per month. Intuit Pay has no monthly fee, no minimum term lock in, and no minimum turnover requirement. A straight forward charge of 2.75% and a one off cost of £100 (+VAT) (currently £29 +VAT for their introductory offer) are the only outgoings you will ever see for this solution. If you are a company that relies on cash and invoice/bank payment transactions, but wish to offer a card service on the side to capture those customers whom you might otherwise loose, then this solution is for you. As there is no cost of upkeep, after you have paid out for the card reader, you do not have to worry about taking a minimum amount to cover the cost of the service or any reoccurring monthly fees
If your company relies heavily on Credit card transactions and have an annual turnover large enough to justify the annual cost of a card terminal, then you might be better off going with a more corporate solution.
When you compare Intuit Pay to established Point of Sale (POS) solutions from larger business banking companies, then the per-card rates can seem a little high. A number of these POS solutions also charge a fixed amount on top of the per-transaction rate. For example: a debit card transaction with one might cost only 2%, but a charge of 40p per transaction is applied on top. Credit card payments from VISA and MasterCard might only charge at 2%. On top of all this, there could be a monthly rental charge to keep the Chip & PIN reader, and a minimum monthly total transaction value that has to be met. While Intuit Pay would not be the most cost effective solution for those who are turning over £1000+ per week in credit / debit card transactions, for the smaller business doing less than this, Intuit Pay is perfect. No monthly cost and no minimum transaction value per month means that if you dont use Intuit Pay, then you simply dont pay anything. The 2.75% fixed fee per transaction helps for Micro transactions too, as there is no fixed cost on top of the percentage they already take.
Intuit Pay Chip & PIN Device
The Chip and PIN device is manufactured by Miura Systems Ltd, and appears to be a slightly earlier version of the Chip & PIN unit that is shipped by iZettle. The device is a split matte / glossy grey and blue plastic unit 9.5 x 7 x 1.75 CM (H x W x D) with a square bottom / top and curved (almost ergonomic) left and right sides. It has a 4.3CM green/grey LCD display and 13 buttons on its face, a Micro USB plug for charging and a charging LED indicator on its right side, a blue recessed power button and reset button on its left side. The reader features a chip reader on the bottom of the device (the cards clip in securely) as well as a magnetic swipe reader across the top of the unit. The unit has the Intuit Pay printed in white on the front and embossed onto the glossy plastic on the back with a matte inlay finish.
When comparing this unit to the iZettle device with its OLED display, the Intuit device feels and looks and feels far more premium, and more like a chip-and-pin reader should, while the iZettle device has an air that the black acrylic case was more of an after-thought than a design decision. The Intuit device also fits far nicer in the hand than the iZettle unit. My only concern with the Intuit device uses an LCD instead of an OLED. This might prove difficult to read on bright sunny days. The OLED will definitely outperform the LCD in low / no light situations, which might make the Intuit Pay device unusable.
The Miura units have specific firmware installed on them (presumably to encrypt communication between the Reader and the App) that mean the readers only function with the App provided by the company you purchase the reader from. An Intuit Reader will not work with the iZettle App, or vice versa.
There is no word from Intuit on battery life, but it should be virtually the same as the iZettle unit that is reported to support up to 150 transactions on a single charge. You can charge the unit using the included MicroUSB cable, and the reader can be used while it is charging
Setting up the Chip & PIN Device
Once you push the power button, it takes around 40 seconds for the Chip & PIN reader to start up and reach the ‘Open app to start’ screen. At this point you can either pair the unit with your smartphone / tablet, or start the Intuit Pay App (which automatically establishes a Bluetooth link to the unit if it is already paired) for it to be used.
To unpair / make the unit discoverable for pairing with your smartphone or tablet, power on the reader by pressing the power button. Once the reader has started up and the Intuit logo has been replaced by the ‘Open app to start’ text, hold down the Yellow < (Back) button for 5 seconds and you will be asked whether you want to ‘Remove Bluetooth Pairing?’. Clicking Yes will remove the existing pairing and make the device discoverable. At this point you can pair your reader just like you would pair a Bluetooth Headset. You can cancel this action after you have held down the Yellow < (Back) key by pressing the Red X (X) button at any time. This will not delete the previous pairing. You can only have one pairing on the Reader and cannot switch between two phones/ tablets without re-pairing it.
It is worth mentioning that the Chip & PIN Reader is not linked to a single Intuit Pay account. You pair the reader with your phone or tablet, and the App links to your account. You could loan your reader to friend with Intuit Pay and they could use the reader with their own Intuit Pay account.
To power off the reader, press the power button once and the reader will ask you to confirm the power off action with the green ‘Tick’ key (yes) or to deny it with the Red ‘X’ (no) key. Inaction for 30 seconds will return the reader to its previous screen.
Intuit Pay very helpfully did a brief YouTube video on pairing your card reader.
Updating the Card Reader – First time Setup
When you first receive your card reader you will need to pair it to your phone / tablet, and then run ‘Update Card Reader’ which will be displayed on the front page of the Intuit Pay Smartphone App if you have not already updated the reader. Updating the reader is a very straight-forward process.
Ensure the reader is powered on and paired to your smartphone with the Intuit App running on it.
Click ‘Set up card reader’ on the home screen (first time setup only) or for subsequent updates go to ‘Settings > Update Card Reader’.
The card reader update process will begin. The card reader will restart two or more times during this process. The app will automatically report once the update is complete.
The choice that Intuit Pay to allow the user to update the device is important, as this will allow Intuit to add more functionality and fix bugs further down the line. Currently neither iZettle nor Payleven allow the user to update the firmware on the Miura Systems Chip & PIN devices.
Intuit Pay Smartphone App
Like most Mobile Payment solution apps, Intuit’s comes in two flavours. One for Android, and one for iPhone. The iPhone version reportedly supports all iOS devices, while the Android version is a little limiting, presently only supporting the Samsung Galaxy range (not the Note II or the S4 yet), and the Nexus phones. Currently no Android Tablets are supported. Other solution providers (even Payleven) have left Intuit Pay in the dust for device support now, but I expect this to change in the coming months as their app grows and develops.
The version I will be using for this review is the Android version, running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB.
When you first start the app you are asked whether you already have an account or if you would like to sign up for one. Having already signed up online I was unable to test the signup procedure through the App. Once you have signed in with your credentials you are greeted by the app home screen which will prompt you to ‘Set up business’ and ‘Set up card reader’. If (like me) you’ve installed the app shortly after signing up for the service, you wont have received the card reader yet and wont be able to set it up yet. In this instance the app has very limited functionality It does not allow you to perform any sort of transaction without having a card reader, and even though you can perform Card-not-Present transactions through the web portal, you cannot through the app. I do hope that (given you can sign up for online card-not-present payments only without getting the card reader) you will be able to use the app for this functionality in a future release.
The first place most people will visit is the Set Up Business wizard. From here the App will guide you through giving your store a name, adding your logo, choosing a background for the application (this should really be under ‘settings’ as its not related to the business setup, nor customer facing in any way), and Customise your receipt message.
During this process I got slightly confused during the ‘Customise your receipt message. As I had never seen an Intuit Pay receipt I had no point of reference, and did not know what this message was that I would be altering. A preview of the receipt would be very helpful here.
Once you have completed your Business Setup, you can always go back and adjust your choices by going to the ‘Settings’ screen of the App. I would recommend this as there are a lot more options shown here, and the descriptions on each field are far more intuitive than the ones on the ‘Set Up Business’ wizard.
Taking your first payment
Intuit Pay very helpfully did a very useful YouTube video on taking your first payment, which is displayed below. The video was made using the iPhone App, though the principles are the same
Intuit Pay are the first mobile payment operator to the table with an Android Product Catalog. Their offering is relatively straight forward and has some nice features.
To add a product, from the Home Screen go to ‘Manage Items’ and then press the ‘+’ button in the top right corner. You can now enter an Item Name, a Description, Price, assign it a category (only one category per item) and assign it a picture from your gallery or take a new photo through your devices camera.
Currently there is no way of creating product variations, which would be one of the most helpful additions to the Item Catalog.
When you add items to your catalog your Payment screen changes to reflect the item catalog along with the category list below the total amount displayed at the top of the screen. This new view hides the amount entry keypad unless you click the ‘Enter £’ button which allows you to enter an amount for a non-catalog item. You can enter multiple amounts by pressing ‘Next’ and then ‘Enter £’ after every transaction. These items will appear as ‘Misc’ on the receipt and you cannot enter a description for them.
You cannot currently sync your item catalog between devices, and if you loose or upgrade your phone you will need to recreate your entire item catalog.
An Android App update on June 13th 2013 has now introduced the ability to sync the product catalog between devices. This also has the advantage that if you loose or replace your phone, you will be able to retrieve your product catalog.
To edit an existing catalog item, long press the item and it will allow you to edit the picture, description and price.
To delete an item; click the product and select ‘Delete’
Discounts can be added during checkout by the seller. Once you have added all the items / amounts to the basket you can add a discount as a percentage or as a fixed amount.
Once the total amount has been confirmed by the merchant the total amount is passed to the Chip & PIN. The customer can see the total amount before they enter their card into the reader. Once they do and the card has been verified they will be prompted to enter a gratuity (tip). It defaults to £0.00 so the user can simply hit the green button to pass through this screen, or enter an amount using the keypad followed by the green button. The amount is then added to the total amount and the final total displayed to the customer before they enter their PIN. The gratuity amount is not displayed to the merchant until the transaction has been confirmed and the receipt is processed.
Gratuity can be turned on or off from the settings menu in the App.
Once the final amount has been processed and the card payment confirmed, the seller is given the opportunity to send the customer a digital receipt via email. This step can be optionally skipped, though providing a customer with a receipt is a requirement. A digital receipt should suffice but some customers may also want a paper receipt. Currently there is no printer support through the app.
A full payment history can be accessed from the App. This includes transactions made through the app and transactions made through the Card-not-Present Web Portal. Once in a receipt you can
Refunds (for card and card-not-present payments) can be processed directly through the app. At present only full refunds can be processed, and you cannot do per-item or part refunds.
Intuit Pay Web Portal
If there is one area that Intuit does not yet shine in, it is their Web Portal. The functionality is basic, however I would expect this area of their service to grow in time. You currently reach the Web Portal by signing in through the Intuit UK Website. Once you have signed in you are greeted by a dashboard with two options. ‘History’ and ‘Take Payment’.
This is one area of the Intuit Pay Web Portal (and service as a whole) that really shines when comparing to other solutions such as iZettle and Payleven. Neither of these companies (yet) offer card-nor-present transactions. Their terms and conditions strictly forbid this action.
To take a Card-not-Present transaction, go to the ‘Take Payment’ tab at the top of the portal. Now enter the Amount, Card Number, Expiry Date, Cardholder Name and Security Code. Optionally enter a Memo (this is not published to the customer). Now click ‘Authorise payment’. The card payment should now proceed. On the next screen you can
You can review individual transactions through the web portal history page. At a glance you can see Payment date, card type (including last four digits) and amount. You can also see if the transaction was a Sale or a refund. The Name field remains blank for card transactions and is only filled in for Card-not-present transactions. It would be good to see the transaction reference or a receipt number displayed here for quick visual scanning.
When you click on an individual transaction you are shown the only the total payed amount receipt. Itemised products or gratuity are not shown on here.
There is currently no reporting functionality through the web portal. You cannot view a total amount of sales per month / week / day. To do this you will currently need to transfer the data to a spreadsheet or accounting package to track your totals. There is also not yet a way to export the data in a CSV or Quickbooks format for easy importing into your favourite software.
Refunds (for card and card-not-present payments) can be processed directly through the web portal. To refund a transaction, simply open up the transaction and click the ‘refund’ button. Partial refunds cannot yet be done. This can be a problem should a customer wish to return just part of an order.
This is unfortunately absent from the Web Portal. Managing / inputting any significant number of products via a smartphone can prove difficult. I would highly recommend that Intuit add this functionality to bring their App and their Web Portal into cohesion.
When you process a payment, the merchant is prompted to enter the customers email address to send them an e-receipt. These receipts are delivered by email. They look almost identical to the preview you see through the website, however the receipts contain a fair number of customisable fields.
The receipt is sent with the From and Reply address set to whatever email address you used to sign up to Intuit Pay. A user can send an email to the company simply by hitting ‘reply’.
In the receipt is the usual transaction details as well as an itemised receipt. The photos from the Item Catalog are missing from this, but its questionable if you would ever need / want them in a receipt. At the top of the receipt is a Google Map showing the location of where the transaction took place. This is absent from receipts using the Card-not-Present payment method.
On the receipt, a number of fields can be customised, including links to social networks. You can customise your ‘Receipt Message’ (shown at the bottom of the receipt and the ‘Returns and Legal Message’ (not shown in the example above). The social network links are currently limited to Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. I would like to see more networks (especially Google+) added. Finally you have the option of recommending Intuit Pay to customers (not shown in the example above).
Receiving your money from Intuit Pay
According to Intuit’s website, money should be transfered through daily BACS payments and takes five working days to arrive in your account.
We’ll send your money via daily BACS transfers, using the bank details you gave us when you signed up:
- We add up your transactions at the end of each day.
- We also calculate our fees and deduct them from the total.
- We initiate a transfer to send the balance to your bank account.
- Funds usually take around five working days to arrive in your bank account.
Your Intuit Pay statements will show which transactions each payment covers and how we calculated the total. You can also view this information online.
I am unable to comment on or confirm this as I am yet to receive payment from Intuit Pay as I have not yet had the service long enough.
- Moving away from the Intuit Pay app and then returning to it a little time later causes the App to crash (app timeout?)
- During ‘Business Setup’ process, ‘Receipt Message’ field defaults to ‘First Letter Capital’ for every word typed. This does not happen when using the ‘Receipt Customisation’ screen in Settings.
- After completing a transaction the seller is given the option to send a receipt to the customer. Currently the email address entry screen still allows keyboards to put in automatic spaces and auto capitalisation.
- No context given for ‘Receipt Message’ under ‘Business Setup’ wizard.
- Some settings do not yet sync via the cloud – E.g: ‘Always send a copy of my email receipt to:’ field under ‘Receipt Customisation
- No cloud-sync for Item Catalog.
- No PNG support in web receipts – Transparent areas currently show black instead of transparency. In-App receipts work fine
- In a situation where the app is already open / signed in and the reader is powered on afterwards, the app will not establish a connection to the reader unless you close and then reopen (and subsequently sign in again to) the app.
- If the app / phone goes to sleep, the connection between the reader and phone is lost, forcing you to restart the app to reestablish a connection to the reader.
- When adding an existing picture to a Catalog Item, the gallery interface becomes ‘really’ slow and unresponsive.
- New photos are downscaled a little too much when adding them to a catalog item.
Improvements I would like to see
Intuit Pay is very currently App driven, and far less website driven. The biggest change I would like to see is a far better balance between the App and the Website, and the implementation of what I would consider to be some very basic functionality.
- Ability to modify a catalog item via the App (and Website) to let you change Item Name, Photo, Description and Price.
- Addition of Product Variations so that you can have a single product but various different variations of it (e.g: in different sizes) with different prices but a single picture / title / description
- A section to the product catalog that allows you to create a group of ‘options’ that are available to certain products. e.g: For a canvas, you might have the option of a Glossy Finish that would add a £5 surcharge to the price of a canvas.
- VAT options so you can automatically turn on / off VAT charging depending on whether your business is VAT Registered or not.
- Add the option for ‘Staff Accounts’ so that you can have multiple points of sale signed in to sell products simultaneously.
- Ability to log cash / cheque payments through the App and through the web portal – this would allow you to use the system as a full Point-of-Sale record keeping system for all purchases / refunds.
- Add the ability to do partial refunds and/or refunds by item. Currently if a customer purchases three items and wants to refund just one, you have to refund the entire purchase.
Web Portal changes
- Ability to manage Catalog Items from the website (this would require that the catalog items are cloud-synced)
- Access to the Product Catalog on the Web Portal so you can sell Catalog Items to customers using the Card-not-Present sell option
- Ability to add Descriptions and Itemised billing – Ideally closely linked to the Product Catalog feature request.
- Ability to search by Transaction Number
- Change the receipt view so that you can view an itemised breakdown of any receipt.
Cloud-Syncing of account settings such as Catalog Items
- During the ‘Business Setup’ process, the section ‘Receipt Message’ is very cryptic. Please provide a description of what this does
- Signing into an account on two devices signs out the first account – change this or add the ability for Staff Accounts.
- Change the App Timeout system to lock down the app with a Pincode – entering a full (secure) password when trying to check out a customer is prohibitively time consuming.
- Ability to preview receipt after customising it in ‘Receipt Customisation’.
- Ability to handle ‘Card-not-Present’ transactions through the App so that business who operate on-the-move can still process these without needing to fall back to the web portal
- Implement ‘Change Password’ functionality through the app.
- Option to give manual payment entries a description instead of ‘misc’
- You can save a customers email address to a contact card, but cannot later recall this information when processing another order. Please add address book access for sending receipts.
- PNG support to allow for transparent logos – Currently these appear on web receipts with Black in the transparent areas.
- Addition of ‘Google+ Page Link’ in the Receipt Customisation
- Addition of Custom Links (one field for Heading, another for the URL) in the Receipt Customisation.
- Addition of (an optional) Google Maps image on customer receipt showing the business location, and/or the location where the transaction was made.
- Addition of Receipt Number that is unique to each company presence instead of using the Transaction Number which is a number that applies to every transaction ever made by everyone under Intuit Pay.
- Receipt subject line should report company name and receipt number
- Ability to fully customise the receipt (including subjet) using %data% variables. This interface could be easily driven through the web portal.
- Ability to print paper receipts through the app (Android and iOS)
I feel it is important to point out that while the Intuit solution does have a number of small bugs, none of these detract from what really is a very good solution. The impression I get from Intuit Pay (especially when comparing it to the likes of iZettle and Payleven) is that Intuit Pay is in its infancy. It has a bit of a way to go before its App and Web Portal can compete with the established solution from iZettle, however it has a vast amount of potential, and possibly more so than the competition. For a start their willingness to allow Card-not-Present transactions is a real feather in their cap when comparing them to the competition. The whole Intuit system feels more professional and open where as the iZettle system feels very ‘let us do it all for you because you dont know what you’re doing’. I feel this is where iZettle’s mix of advertising to Home Users as well as Business Users will be their undoing for the business market. This difference in target markets is particularly obvious in the Intuit Pay Receipt Customisation and Business Setup screens.
There are some bugs, yes, and my list of things I would like to see is extensive, but this should not put you off using this service. If the development team behind the app and web portal take on board even half of the items in this list, then they will have a killer service that will manage to pull a lot of business away from the likes of iZettle and Payleven.The key is going to be developing a rock solid and feature-rich service before PayPal get their act together and release their Chip & PIN unit.
- Intuit Pay UK Homepage
- Intuit Pay UK Facebook Page
- Intuit Pay Android App (Google Play)
- Intuit Pay iOS App (Apple App Store)
I will continue to update this review as the product improves. If there is a particular area you would like me to cover in more detail or a feature you feel I have missed out, please leave me a Comment below and I will do what I can.
17/06/13 – Added updates to the review to reflect the Android App update that was released on 13th June 2013
13/04/13 – Added section on Receipts. Corrected some minor typos.
12/04/13 – Original review posted
All screenshots are taken from the Android version of the Intuit App, using a Samsung Galaxy Note
This review is not sponsored or commissioned by Intuit Ltd or any of their affiliated companies.