Groupon Rolls Out Merchant Payments Service

Offers businesses low rates on credit-card transactions

CHICAGO -- Groupon announced the launch of GrouponPayments, a payments service backed by a guarantee to be the lowest-cost option for the company's merchants to accept credit cards. Built into the latest version of the Groupon Merchants app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Groupon Payments provides restaurants, salons and spas, retail establishments and other local businesses with the ability to accept all credit-card payments at a lower rate than other providers.

After a successful pilot in the San Francisco Bay Area, any merchant that runs a deal with Groupon in the United States can now accept payments at the lowest rates in today's marketplace:

  • Swiped transactions. MasterCard, Visa and Discover (1.8% plus 15 cents per transaction) and American Express (3% plus 15 cents per transaction).
  • No hidden costs or monthly fees. Merchants will also have their credit card deposits in their bank accounts overnight, which is much faster than the typical experience of waiting two to three business days offered by most credit card processors.

"Our goal is to provide merchants with the most affordable and powerful tools to run and grow their businesses," said Mihir Shah, vice president of mobile and merchant products at Groupon. "With groundbreaking pricing and service, Groupon Payments does just that."

Groupon merchants that sign up for the service will enjoy a fast, intuitive experience that is capable of tackling their everyday credit card processing needs. Some of the Groupon Payments characteristics include:

  • Service. Backed by a seven-days-a-week Groupon Payments support team reachable by phone and email.
  • Fully Featured. Use Groupon Merchants app to enter bill totals, add tips, apply taxes, process refunds and email customer receipts.
  • Sturdy. Swipe credit cards via a sturdy, case-based credit card reader suitable for high transaction volume merchants or an audio jack accessory.
  • Secure. Encrypted and secure credit card information.
  • Analytics. View payments information seamlessly to an online Payments Center where merchants can view a live transaction history, check daily sales reports, track deposits to their account and analyze revenue trends.

In addition, merchants can use the app to scan and redeem Groupons and monitor additional spend over the value of the Groupon.

While Groupon Payments is designed for local businesses that run deals with Groupon, the service is also available as a pilot to non-Groupon merchants at the rate of 2.2% (3% American Express) plus 15 cents per transaction.

The Groupon Merchants app can be downloaded for free from the iTunesAppStore.

Groupon,  launched in November 2008 in Chicago, features a daily deal on things to do, eat, see and buy in 48 countries. Groupon uses collective buying power to offer discounts, delivering more than 1,000 daily deals globally.

The offer follows the recent announcement by Square Inc., San Francisco, which said Starbucks is investing $25 million in the company and will use its technology to eventually process all credit and debit transactions at about 7,000 Starbucks outlets in the United States. McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts are testing or have launched similar services. And 7-Eleven, Alon, Shell and Sunoco have joined Walmart and Target in a payments enterprise. Other players include PayPal, Google Wallet and Isis (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).