Payleven, which began life as Rocket Internet’s Square clone for Europe, will later this year bring out a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) card reader that accepts contactless payments using near-field communication (NFC) technology.
The rollout of NFC-based contactless payment facilities among retailers has been patchy, apart from where banks are enthusiastically pushing them, such as in the U.K. and Poland. Certainly for very small businesses – the kind that will use cheap mPOS readers from the likes of Payleven, Square or iZettle to accept card payments for the first time – NFC has not factored thus far.
Payleven was the first company of its kind to release a chip and PIN card reader in Europe, charging around €79 ($110) for it. That device connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth, and the new version, slated for release in the second half of this year at a price of around €100, will do the same.
According to Payleven founder Konstantin Wolff:
“NFC definitely has the potential to become the market standard for contactless payments. However, until now the hurdle for SMEs has been the huge cost associated with it. By launching our new device we will be offering a disruptive solution that will help our customers to keep up with cutting edge technology, making their business even more efficient with NFC.”
A Payleven spokesman told me the device would support all large NFC programs, such as Visa’s payWave and Mastercard’s PayPass. “The integration of various wallets is likely of course,” he added.
Visa was trumpeting the rise of contactless transactions in Europe a few days ago, though most of this activity is in Poland and the U.K. An NFC-capable card reader won’t be hugely useful where people don’t have NFC-capable cards (or until NFC-based mobile payments finally take off, if ever), but Payleven won’t be charging much of a premium over its normal chip-and-PIN readers, so the main hit the small vendor will be taking will really be in terms of having a slightly bulkier terminal.