Soon, even unbanked consumers can accept payment cards.

Intuit Inc. next week plans to launch a prepaid card account that merchants may use to deposit sales made with its GoPayment device.

The Intuit GoPayment Prepaid Visa Card will be free to GoPayment customers, and the company eventually plans to provide the card to users of other Intuit services to meet the needs of the 8 million small businesses that handle $2.6 trillion in commerce annually, says Chris Hylen, vice president and general manager of Intuit's payment solutions division.

Hylen declined to say who will issue the card and who will process the card transactions. He also said he would to wait until the official announcement to say whether Intuit will deposit funds from merchants' sales immediately into the card account.

GoPayment merchants will have the option to have funds from their sales deposited elsewhere, such as into their small-business account. But the prepaid card account will be the default option, Hylen says.

The product will become available online Nov. 29, and an official announcement will come shortly afterward, according to an Intuit representative.

Intuit's card initiative is another example of how the small-merchant payment environment is changing, says Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group in Centennial, Colo. He also cited Square Inc.'s mobile card-acceptance initiative as one of the early examples.

"No more do you have to have a bank account to take credit cards," he says. "Square, Intuit and other innovators are driving big changes in the merchant-acceptance market."