iZettle Mobile Card Payments Arrive In UK

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

EE partnership formed in bid to rival the Square payment system

The iZettle mobile card payments service has launched in the UK, hooking up with EE, formerly known as Everything Everywhere, to spread the technology.

iZettle is one of the first major competitors for Square, the project of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Both let smartphone users accept card payments just by attaching some hardware to their Android or iOS devices and downloading the relevant app.

Such services appeal to small businesses who can’t afford a full payment infrastructure. iZettle lets users carry out transactions without the card reader too, as it has a manual payment option.

iZettle EE tie-up

iZettleFrom tomorrow,  297 EE stores will be flogging the iZettle mini chip-card readers across the UK, along with  a £20 voucher that can be used towards iZettle transaction fees. Merchants are charged 2.75 percent of each payment.

“The possibilities are endless because hundreds of thousands of small business can now take plastic,” said Jacob de Geer, CEO and co-founder of iZettle.

“We are very excited about our full commercial launch in the UK and the positive results of our Beta test with 4,000 users over the past six months.”

iZettle has been expanding rapidly as it looks to become the leader in the emerging market. In October, American Express became an investor, joining the likes of MasterCard and other private investors. It also recently entered the German market.

It launched in Sweden last year and is believed to be in use across 75,000 businesses and individuals.

Yet it may have issues taking on Square when it comes to dealing with Visa payments. Although it announced Visa payment compatibility today, it is a little trickier to pay with such cards.It appears Visa has concerns about the security method used by iZettle.

Instead of just inserting the card and signing, the cardholder enters their phone number in the merchant’s phone, receives a text message with a link to a secure web page and from there has to input their card details in a form. This all but kills the ease-of-use sell offered by the company when dealing with Visa.

“We know it’s not quite as simple as a regular iZettle transaction, but for us the most important thing is to offer everyone the ability to take card payments, including Visa card payments,” iZettle said in its blog post today.

Another competitor, mPower, is also looking for a slice of the market. It recently announced compatibility with Android on top of its iOS functionality, and it claims to be the only solution that works with Chip & PIN security.

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