News Column

SA invention turns smartphones into mobile card machines

June 26, 2014

Developed by South African innovator Stafford Masie, Absa's Payment Pebble is a cashless mobile payment device that plugs into the 3.5mm audio jack of compatible smartphones and tablets to enable secure card payments.

The defining feature that sets it apart from other mobile card machines is its world-first touch-screen PIN (Personal Identification Number) entry method. The unique touchscreen scroll-wheel facility on the smartphone or tablet makes it virtually impossible to decipher the PIN digits being entered. This ensures that Payment Pebble is more secure than any other point of sale (POS) device.

This groundbreaking PIN entry method has been endorsed by all relevant regulatory bodies and is breaking ground globally. Absa is working with international regulators to introduce this PIN entry method as a new global standard.

Arrie Rautenbach, head of retail banking Africa, says that the launch empowers entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by making it easier for them to accept card payments. "This is one of our initial successes, which is designed to make our customers' lives - and in turn, their customers' lives - much easier. It has the potential to completely transform the way service providers and merchants conduct business."

Small monthly fee

The opportunities are endless: plumbers, electricians, repair men, door-to-door salespeople, marketplace merchants and roadside craft market vendors can now accept card payments from any customer with a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card for as little as R50 (excluding VAT) per month for the first year and R20 (excluding VAT) per month thereafter.

The device eliminates the need for fixed premises and internet connectivity in order to process payments for goods and services with a debit or credit card. All it requires is a compatible smartphone with an internet connection and it is available to all merchants, whether they bank with Absa or not.

Accepting card payments reduces the risk of cash handling for customers and merchants, which makes buying and selling goods safer for both parties.

The list of compatible Apple, Android and Blackberry devices grows daily, making it one of the quickest, safest and most affordable ways for businesses, small enterprises and entrepreneurs to start accepting card payments.

GPS integration

If integrated with a smartphone or tablet's GPS, it can provide valuable business data, such as time and location of transactions, which will allow businesses to plan better and make use of these insights to formulate business development plans.

"This is one of many innovations that will be launched by the bank in the coming months that will transform the way that customers interact with the bank, delivering real value to the customers and merchants alike," concludes Rautenbach.

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Source: Bizcommunity (South Africa)

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