iZettle, mPowa, PayLeven and PayPal Here are all looking to do something big: change the way in-person credit card payments are taken.
Currently, to take credit card payments, merchants need a dedicated credit card terminal: the device you slot your credit card into with the little keypad you type your PIN code in with.
These cost around £15 to £35 a month to rent which has made them unattractive to many small merchants who have often opted not to take card payments at all.
Smartphone Credit Card Readers
The four companies are working on ways to let you take credit card payments using your smartphone, iPhone or iPad.
They mostly work by letting you plug a special card reader into the top of your device.
A company called Square (founded by one of the founders of Twitter) is already seeing great success offering a similar device in the US.
Mobile Credit Card Reader Fees
iZettle currently charge a transaction fee of 2.75% for MasterCard, 2.95% for AmEx and 2.75% for Diners Club, with no setup fee or monthly fees. It’s not clear how much they charge for Visa or whether debit cards are charged at a different rate. [Update: it appears they don’t yet support Visa.]
mPowa charge 2.95% plus 25p per transaction.
PayLeven and PayPal Here have yet to launch in the UK so it’s unclear how they’ll compare price-wise.
For now, iZettle’s offering looks the most compelling. They’ve raised investment money of $46.7 million so far, and look to be using that to grow aggressively, particularly in the UK.
Is a Mobile Phone Card Reader Right for You?
Are you interested in getting a mobile phone credit card reader? What questions and concerns do you have?
[Update: You may like to see our more recent roundup of UK mobile payment card readers.]