Square competitor Groupon Payments launches today, promises lowest cost for retailers

Popular deal website Groupon is venturing into the world of smart phone-based credit card payments today, launching the Groupon Payments initiative nationwide after a successful pilot program is the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year. Groupon's boasting a guaranteed lowest cost pricing to merchants using Groupon Payments for credit card transactions -- MasterCard, Visa, and Discover will cost retailers 1.8 percent of credit card sales, plus a $0.15 per transaction fee, while American Express will cost three percent of credit card sales, plus a $0.15 per transaction fee. The biggest competition in the space comes from Square, headed by former Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, which charges a flat 2.75 percent rate on all transactions against all cards, though PayPal, Intuit, and Verifone all offer similar services.

Today's news matches up directly with leaks we saw back in May, adding on that merchants will see the day's credit card purchases credited to their bank accounts overnight, rather than waiting two to three business days (per standard practice). Beyond credit card services, Groupon's Merchants app also accepts Groupon daily deals, which helps elucidate why Groupon would be interested in entering the mobile credit card payments market in the first place (beyond it being a lucrative market unto itself, of course). Interested parties can sign up over on Groupon's website, and snag the free payments app right here. Finally -- finally -- you'll be able to sell all those $10 gift certificates to Chili's you've been hoarding. Perhaps charge $5 a pop for their $10 value and ... is this a paradox? This might be a paradox.