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TMCNet:  Now, pay using mobile phone card reader [India Business] [Times of India]

[January 23, 2013]

Now, pay using mobile phone card reader [India Business] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MUMBAI: The current credit card point of sales (POS) terminals may soon go the way of the 'zip zap' machines that were used by merchants to generate receipts based on credit card impressions until early '90s. The Reserve Bank of India has given its nod for a card reader that costs Rs 1,500 and can, in conjunction with an android phone, do everything that a POS terminal can do.


The cigarette box sized device, which records signatures on a touch screen from a stylus, does away with charge slips and works as well as any swipe machine. Citibank has been the first off the block to adopt this technology developed by Bangalore-based Ezetap Mobile Solutions and has obtained regulatory clearances for its launch.

The bank already has several merchants trying out this new technology. Shoppers Stop is testing this out as a queue buster by authorizing salespersons to receive payment on the spot. Others trying out this service are Vodafone and Bajaj Allianz. Citibank is also talking to a fleet cab company for accepting card payments.

"Besides replicating the job of the POS terminal, the mobile payment solution can be customized to specific business needs and also be integrated with the businesses back-end system, thereby making the process very efficient," said Muge Yuzuak, country head, cards and personal loans, Citibank India.

To function, the card reader needs to be connected to an android phone which needs to have the requisite app. The merchant can also fit the mobile with his own app that updates his systems about the payment.

Mobile-based card payment systems are by themselves not an innovation. The difference is that while earlier innovations involve a separate platform, this one replicates the card POS and somewhat blurs the lines between credit card and mobile payments.

"The device complies with the securities standards prescribed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. We have also got the necessary approvals from the Reserve Bank of India for card transactions through this mobile payment solution," Said Yuzak.

In theory, the mobile payments business could be bigger than cards because of the sheer number of mobile phones. However, because of the restrictions on the size and multiple entries required for making a remittances, few merchants accept payments from mobile.

"The mobile card reader does everything that a current POS terminal provides and is competitively priced. The transaction costs are the same for the merchant. But to what extent it would replace POS terminals would depend on each bank's strategy. One must recognize that any form of behavioral change in the market place is always gradual," said Yuzak.

(c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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