The mobile network operator (MNO) O2 has launched a mobile card payment solution aimed at small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. Developed and run in conjunction Visa Europe and the processor, Global Payments, the new mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) service, allows retailers to accept credit and debit card payments via handsets.
The new mPoS offering is up against Square and many other rival products in this fast developing market place but it has good reach if SMEs decide that they want to use such a service – uptake at the moment for these services is relatively small.
The mPoS service is only available on Android and BlackBerry operating systems for now, with Apple’s iOS coming soon, say the partners.
The new launch works via a chip and PIN Pad accessory, which is connected to the retailer's existing smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. A free eMerit app downloaded on the mobile or tablet manages the card payment transaction, and then sends the customer a receipt via email and/or SMS text if so required.
Commenting on the launch, James le Brocq, managing director of O2 Money, said: "At O2 we understand the importance of the mobile device in digital payments. Our new mPoS service has the ability to transform the revenues of smaller businesses and sole traders by offering their customers the ability to pay with Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards as an alternative to cash.”
O2 Money already offers mobile insurance, tablet insurance and more recently launched its O2 Wallet to digitise consumers’ physical wallet, aping the Google wallet and numerous other products in this expanding field.
Sandra Alzetta, senior vice president of mobile at Visa Europe, is confident the mPoS partnership will be successful. “We want to unlock the value of electronic payments for smaller retailers,” she said “By getting this device into the hands of tradesmen, home-based businesses and market stall operators, we believe we can help them sell more products and services to consumers who forgot to withdraw enough cash."
By Neil Ainger