Powa Technologies, which is seeking to rival Square as a UK system to enable credit card payments via a smartphone, has signed its first major deal with First National Bank, one of South Africa’s biggest financial institutions.
First National, the retail and corporate division of First Rand, one of South Africa’s big four banks, will use mPowa, the company’s card reader and software, to replace its existing payment infrastructure for an annual undisclosed fee.
London-based mPowa manufactures a smartphone app and a small chip and PIN reader that connects to the handset via Bluetooth. The technology is targeted at field workers, travelling salesmen, shop floor staff and other staff that are frequently out of the office, so that they can take credit card payments on their mobile handsets.
Powa’s chief executive, Dan Wagner, said the deal heralded the company’s rapid expansion into global markets. It will be the first of several planned tie-ups with banks around the world in the next few months, he added, and validates the firm’s aim to make mPowa a white label offering, helping financial services firms to make the step to smartphone payments more easily.