PayPal Partners With Microsoft to Bring Its Card Reader to Windows Devices

The race to dominate the mobile transactions space has been in full swing for awhile, with payments companies clamoring to serve merchants that use iOS or Android devices. Now, one of the main players in the payments space is looking to stand out by going after Windows users in a big way.

PayPal announced today that its PayPal Here reader, which allows select small businesses to accept credit and debit-card transactions, is now compatible on Microsoft's Surface tablet, smartphones and other devices that operate on Windows 8.1. In addition, the partnership with Microsoft means that the PayPal software development kit (SDK) has been integrated with the Windows developer platform.

Until now, the PayPal Here reader was only available on Apple and Google devices. "Small businesses that use the PayPal Here reader, Windows 8.1 app, and SDK on these devices will benefit from the same world-class product features and customer support enjoyed by existing PayPal Here users," Brad Brodigan, vice president of retail at PayPal, said in a statement.

Related: Square Rolls Out New Reader for Chip-Based Credit Cards

The move positions PayPal to tap a market its main competitors have shied away from. Neither Square nor Intuit GoPayment nor Amazon Local Register is currently compatible with Windows devices. (GoPayment dropped its support of Windows devices in late 2012.)

PayPal also announced that its PayPal Here card reader will be EMV-compliant by summer 2015, taking a page from Square, which began accepting pre-orders for its EMV compatible reader in November. EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is a global security standard that requires point-of-sale terminals and card readers to be able to process payments made with credit cards embedded with computer chips.

"An updated PayPal Here reader is being developed to support EMV and contactless transactions for small businesses that connect to mobile devices via Bluetooth, enabling them to accept any chip card, magnetic stripe card, or contactless payment form, including mobile wallets," Brodigan said.

Related: The Payments App Millennials Swear By

This is important, because in lieu of widespread hacks at large retailer chains across the country, major U.S. card issuers have set an October 2015 deadline after which liability will shift to the least EMV-compliant party in any fraudulent transaction. In other words, merchants and retailers need to adopt EMV-compliant in-store technology before the deadline, or risk being held liable for fraudulent charges incurred through data breaches or counterfeit card fraud.

When it comes to EMV technology, the U.S. is lagging – many countries the world over have already adopted chip cards, which helps explain why even though the U.S. accounts for only a quarter of the world's credit card transactions, half of all credit fraud occurs here. 

"Currently we operate EMV in the UK and Australia," Brodigan explained at a PayPal event. "The good news is we have lots of experience with EMV, and we will making that technology available well in advance of the October deadline." 

Related: Why Your Credit Card Company Wants to Replace Magnetic Strips With Microchips