Accounting software developer Intuit has announced that it is testing a bitcoin payments service aimed at small businesses.
The company describes QuickBooks Bitcoin Payments as a service that enables small businesses to take bitcoin payments without having to bother with bitcoin wallets or even deal with bitcoin at all. The service is being developed by Intuit Labs, the experimental branch of Intuit Inc.
It is a familiar concept, already used by existing payments service providers such as Coinbase, BitPay and Mollie, designed to ease the on-ramp to acceptance of the digital currency.
Keeping costs and risks low
Intuit Labs argues that checks, cash and credit cards have a number of inherent deficiencies that can be addressed by digital currencies: cash is hard to keep track of, checks have a lot of transaction friction, and credit card fees are high.
"We came up with an innovative way to enable small businesses to accept bitcoin payments without any risk or a bitcoin wallet," Inuit Labs claims.
The developers identified two major barriers to bitcoin adoption by small businesses.
Firstly, businesses need a bitcoin wallet and trust in third-party wallets is not currently very high. On top of that, they cannot afford to deal with price volatility. With QuickBooks Bitcoin Payments, however, merchants will only see dollars in their account when they accept bitcoins.
Extensive user base
What sets Intuit apart from some competing bitcoin payments services is its background, since it specialises in accounting software and point-of-sale (POS) software solutions.
POS units powered by Intuit software are common in the US and some other countries, while lot of small businesses in the US already use QuickBooks. This means the company already has an extensive user base, so it will essentially be offering its new bitcoin service to existing users and does not have to start from scratch like BitPay or Coinbase.
Last week Dutch payments provider Mollie entered the bitcoin payments space, with more than 10,000 clients in tow. Intuit is taking a similar approach, albeit potentially on a much bigger scale, since Mollie is limited to the Benelux region.
The service is still being tested, however, and it is unclear when QuickBooks will actually launch.
While Intuit is not giving much away right now, the company is currently looking for beta testers. Interested parties can sign up on the beta waiting list here.