The mobile payments space is getting more crowded every day as the long predicted “next big thing” in mobile looks to get off the ground. Isis, the mobile wallet service backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon saw a limited US launch yesterday. O2 has already announced involvement in a contactless NFC payment system for the UK, as part of a venture between Everything Everywhere and MasterCard, but the company hasn’t forgotten about plastic.
O2 has just released a Mobile Point of Sale service in partnership with Visa and Global Payments. The basic idea is to allow vendors and retailers to easily accept plastic payments from debit and credit cards on their Android tablets and smartphones. All they need is a PINpad accessory which is basically a chip and pin card reader, and the eMerit app installed on their Android device. The vendor enters the amount and customers stick their card in the PINpad and run through the transaction as normal with a chip and pin terminal.
The eMerit app is free, but the PINpad accessory costs £150 upfront or 12 monthly installments of £15. The transaction fees are 2.95 percent for credit cards and a flat fee of 75 pence for debit cards. Currently the system supports Visa, MasterCard, and Maestro, with support for American Express in the works.
You need a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection to complete a transaction and no card details are ever stored on the actual Android device, so it looks to be pretty secure. Everything is fully encrypted and backed by Visa.
The app records a full transaction history and also allows you to manage inventory, alongside feature like GPS tagging and marketing services. It looks a pretty cost effective option for vendors as chip and pin terminals tend to be very expensive. The video below explains it in full (as you’ll see it’s also available for BlackBerry devices, but there’s no support for iOS yet).