The digital coupon company Groupon Inc. has bought Breadcrumb, which develops point of sale (POS) software for the iPad and iPod touch. It's a way for Groupon to become a player in mobile payments and compete against such companies as Square and PayPal.
Breadcrumb specializes in POS for the hospitality industry: cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Its software turns an iPad or iPod touch into an order entry and payment system for processing credit/debit cards, cash, and checks and integrates with such peripherals as printers and cash drawers.
The waitstaff may use an iPad to take orders at tables. Also, Breadcrumb includes a variety of analytical features with cloud access.
The company offers four monthly pricing plans from $99 to $399, depending on the number of mobile devices employed (one, two, five, or 10). Perhaps the "killer" feature is what Groupon and Breadcrumb are charging for processing credit and debit cards: 1.8 percent plus 15 cents per transaction.
Square charges merchants 2.75 percent, and both PayPal Here and VeriFone SAIL charge 2.7 percent. However, those three companies don't charge an additional transaction fee.
Square has been a pioneer in mobile payments for small businesses with its square plastic credit/debit card reader that inserts into a mobile device's audio jack. But Groupon has a major advantage with its huge sales force for selling digital coupons to businesses. Also, Groupon will make it especially easy for businesses using the Breadcrumb system to use its coupons.
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