There’s been an iPhone credit card payment system available in the US for a while now, known as Square. As usual, those interested in Europe have had no choice but to look on from afar for around a year now, but it seems that help is at hand from a Swedish company who's developed an iPhone app chip and pin reader attachment.
- Nowhere (yet)
Technically speaking, iZettle is neither an app nor a gadget but a platform and, worse still, it’s not actually available at the moment. It’s hitting beta stage in Sweden as of June and it’s free to sign up and get sent your iPhone add-on if you’re interested.
iZettle is aimed at small business, lone traders and individuals who’d like to be able to take credit and debit card payments. Users set up the app on their iOS device to send the funds to a particular bank account. Then, when your friend or customer wants to give you some money, they simply slot their card in, you type in how much to charge, what the item is and the app contacts the card issuer which authorises the payment.
For purposes of confirmation, you then hand the iPhone or iPad over to the payer so that they can sign the touchscreen which creates a receipt that gets sent over to their email address, if they so desire. On top of that, you can also take a picture of the product to add to the record and even set it up to automatically share the details of the purchase to the customer’s friends on Facebook and Twitter - without the price and card details, of course.
While neither the app nor the iZettle card reader cost anything, it’s the transactions themselves where the Swedish company makes its money. Like any card reader set up, iZettle takes a small cut of each transaction and, while that amount has not yet been decided, according to CEO Jacob de Geer, it’s likely to be a fixed fee of around 10p plus 2.75 per cent or so of the sale.
Naturally, it’s not going to be for everyone, but small business merchants who pay these kinds of rates plus the weekly rental of a dedicated card read machine could save themselves an awful lot. Once established, iZettle is looking to come to the UK and other countries around Europe in the second half of 2011 and make it beyond iOS devices soon enough as well.
There are apparently a few issues of power and standardisation over micro USB interfacing, but de Geer describes Android as “a very attractive opportunity”. In the mean-time, there are plenty of iPhones out there to work with and just in case you’re concerned, iZettle does meet all the security requirements of a normal card payment system.
So, would you like you like to take card payments on the spot or is cash still king?