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Intuit, best known for its Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax accounting software, is making a big push into the burgeoning mobile payments business with the launch today of a free version of its nearly two-year-old GoPayment service.
GoPayment, designed for small businesses that don't yet accept credit cards — think babysitters, plumbers, dogwalkers and flea market vendors — aims to compete with Square, a mobile payments company launched in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Fortune has learned that Intuit will begin promoting its new services through television ads and YouTube videos starting this week.
"This will attract the smaller businesses that couldn't take credit card payments before or are taking them but not getting enough value," says Chris Hylen, general manager of Intuit's payment solutions division. "It's for people who are on the fence because they don't want to pay a monthly minimum."
paypal's dominant but I think there's lots of opportunity to win their share.
Of course, free is never really free. The new flavor of GoPayment comes with higher discount rates—the cut that gets taken out of each credit card transaction and divvied up among Intuit, the credit card companies and banks. Instead of 1.7%, the new discount rate is 2.7% (which is still a teeny bit lower than Square's rate, 2.75%).