PayPal Launches PayPal Here, A Competitor To Square Designed By Yves Behar

PayPal Here is obviously aimed at Square. But it’s also an attempt to help transition the web payments company into the world of offline money.

Today, Paypal announced PayPal Here, a triangle-shaped mobile creditcard-swiping gadget aimed directly at Jack Dorsey's reader, Square. And, just like Square, they’re aiming to convert customers with the power of their design: They tapped Fuseproject, the firm run by Yves Behar and a darling among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, to create the object.

Obviously, the $4 billion in transactions being done every year on Square were an enticing market for PayPal. But PayPal is also trying migrate into offline, physical transactions. "We’re actually going after offline business in a serious way," says David Marcus, VP of mobile at PayPal.

The gadget works similarly to Square, offering a simple attachment and merchant app that allows iPhones and Android smartphones to do the work of a cash register, swiping credit and debit cards, and tracking receipts. In addition, the app allows merchants to take pictures of checks and credit cards, to process payments even without the attachment. The app can also issue invoices.

But PayPal differs somewhat in market strategy: The company is hoping to become a full-on electronic wallet. PayPal Here is for merchants, but their consumer app is expanding as well. As of today, that app now includes a "local" button, which lets you pay at merchants who accept PayPal. The launch partner is Home Depot, which announced that you’ll be able to use PayPal in its 2,000 stores. Later this year, according to Marcus, PayPal will be announcing other major retail partners as well as international availability.

But back to PayPal Here. The smartphone attachment itself seems fairly simple—a triangle as opposed to a square, get it?—but Behar’s team thought about it as posing two distinct problems. "One is functional," Behar told Co.Design. "But the second is symbolic." Functionally, Fuseproject tried to make the device as small as possible while still delivering accurate card-swipes. That requires a larger card-stripe reader. Thus, it lives at the base of the triangle. Additionally, the device had to tell you that you could swipe a credit-card through it, which Behar’s team accomplished by layering light and dark plastics atop each other, so you can tell that there’s a surface for sliding.

But more interesting may be the symbolic elements. "We relied on an arrow," says Behar. "It’s an ancient symbol that shows you that something is being done in the here and now. From that idea came everything else—the logo and packaging and everything."

Add New Comment


  • Matt

    Guaranteed Yves did not design this. I know this because he doesn't design anything, his lowly designers and interns do.

  • JD

     Matt the biggest issue we faced with the PayPal Here reader when testing, just like the Square reader, was that they do not work with very protective cases. For months we struggled purchasing random audio cables from Radio Shack, Target, Online, etc and none worked.  Finally after several broken devices from removing cases in the field we found CellPay 3.5mm audio extension cable, Otterbox compatible and amazingly enough we do not have to take our case off any more.  This works with Square and PayPal Here, plus a friend of mine has Intuit and it works.  From what I understand as long as the reader works on the phone this extends the audio jack and proper configuration. 

    Here is the link for those that struggle, but let me say Thank You CellPay Accessories for solving this crisis we were experiencing.

  • Anastasiawalkerbeaverhausen

    First impression: ugly as all hell ... cheap, derivative, unharmonious.
    Second impression: he did try ... fluidity, motion?
    In the end, it seems the Paypal logo ruins and/or constricts any higher design element. Only solution would have been something so radical that might have eclipsed this ripoff of square (which btw has a nice simple and robust design). Oh well, every-t-o-h-n-i-e-ng has a price.

  • Balloon Storyteller

    The whole user experience between Square and PayPal is different.  Friends of mine have had major problems with PayPal payments and customer service.  Personally, it takes me 5 minutes to research something on Square and 20 minutes to research the same thing on PayPal.  And the Square site is beautiful.  One under-appreciated feature?  Text that isn't tiny, even on the iPhone.  

    Sorry PayPal, but you're bringing your behemoth company along with this product, and it just doesn't work for me.  

  • Philip Cohen

    Square (in which Visa bought an interest in 2011) has absolutely nothing to worry about, sans its effectively mandated use on the eBay marketplace, the clunky PreyPal could not hit the side of an old timber barn, let alone a modern B&M one.
    “Anuj [Nayer], who is PayPal's Global Director of Communications, said payments processed through PayPal Here would be protected the same as any other PayPal payment method - which explains why the Terms of Sale for Here includes a mention of rolling reserves. Yes, merchants who use the new card reader will be subject to the regular PayPal reserves and holds (rare occurrences for sellers in most categories, said Anuj), and PayPal is extending buyer protection to shoppers who transact with PayPal Here merchants.”

    Well, many merchants already know what PayPal “protection” is like; many merchants already know what PayPal “rolling reserves” and “holds” are about; and many merchants already know what PayPal “buyer protection” is about—it has a hard wired bias towards the buyer: effectively there is no transaction mediation process as any reasonable person would understand it. And PayPal’s Nayer gives a different meaning to the word “rare” to what the rest of us understand it to mean … And for all this, PreyPal’s fee is only 0.05% cheaper than Square’s? Are they serious?
    Am I missing something here or is this initial launch information enough to cause this product to be literally “dead on arrival”? To me it sounds like another desperate Donahoe foray with Alice down the rabbit hole.
    Next time you drop into Home Depot, ask the check-out chick if anyone has yet used (the wholly eBay-funded roll out of) PreyPal to make a point-of-sale purchase. PreyPal at B&M Point-of-Sale is little more than an eBay Dept of Spin-created illusion and is undoubtedly a total waste of eBay shareholders’ funds. PayPal Here will likewise be another eBay lead balloon …  
    And, just for a laugh, a comment on “The New Way To Pay In-Store” via eBay's clunky faux "bank" PreyPal, and some other matters.

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

  • Seshatw

    This is sad. I've been a supporter and user of paypal. But this looks terrible and shows no innovation whatsoever. The crooked triangle makes it look as if its' broken. Bad color choice. 

  • jqlive

    What a blatant rip off from square. I am actually a little disappointed that Yves Behar took this project on. As for the design, that is easily one of the worst looking things I've seen on an iconic design device such as the iPhone. It instantly contrast what good and bad design is. The UI seems very empty, bad use of space. There's really nothing good about this.

    Square +1, Paypal 0

  • Marc Posch

    Is it just ugly, or butt ugly.. especially on a beautiful iPhone. Android may be ok

  • DesignFriend

    I hate the way it sits on the phone so much, I can't even look at it anymore.

  • Anonymous Designer

    I do as well. But it looks like it's designed to fit iPhones with bumpers or cases. And since merchants need to physically hand their phone to the customer to complete a sale, using a case is basically mandatory.

    Which sort of begs the question: why not design a beautiful case with the card-reader built-in?