Архив метки: Sweden

iZettle, The ‘Square Of Europe’, Checks Out Mobile Payments In The UK With 3,000 Free Readers For SMBs


With Square yet to reveal when or where it might offer its mobile payment service in Europe, and PayPal apparently still only talking with would-be partners, the door is wide open for more local players to jump in and pick up some market share. Sweden’s iZettle, which often gets compared to Square, is now doing just that: today it is launching its iOS, dongle-based mobile payment service to the UK, four months after its pan-nordic live launch, and as it is preparing to launch an Android version of its product later this year.

iZettle kicking off its service by giving away 3,000 card readers to small businesses and sole traders in the country as part of its invitation-only beta, which it is running in cooperation with MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. In its still brief life, it has seen some decent traction in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, where it now has 50,000 active merchants on its network.

iZettle is filling a practical need in the current market. The initial aim of the service, according to Jacob de Geer, the founder and CEO, is to target not those merchants that already take card payments, but those who have never signed on to using anything other than checks, cash and invoices to accept payments. There are roughly 20 million small businesses in Europe that fall into this category, he says, with the “uncarded” ranging from sole traders like carpenters to small independent cafes. “We’re not trying to go after those with existing infrastructure because switching costs are too high,” he says.

De Geer will not yet reveal the total number or value of transactions or how many consumers that have used the service to date, except to say that the company is building out its infrastructure to keep up with the demand and has grown by 10 percent in recent months. What’s interesting is that, for now at least, the service seems to be attracting high-value transactions: De Geer says the average value of a transaction is €60 ($76), compared to between €10 and €15 for the average NFC transaction in the Nordic region. (In comparison, he notes that Square transacts between $8-10 per day on any given reader, but that’s an average number and it has picked up a huge number of merchants now.)

The iZettle service works similar to PayPal’s Here and Square, in that a merchant plugs a card-reading dongle into an iOS device to process a card payment using an app downloaded to the device. Instead of reading the magnetic strip on the back of the card, iZettle reads the chip — these are now near-ubiquitous in Europe and tend to be more secure. Like other card payment services, you sign on the device screen to complete a payment, and the funds are deposited in a merchant account the next day.

Similar to other payment services iZettle works on a commission basis — in its case a percentage on each transaction, with that percentage varying by country. It actually dropped a transaction fee it used to take only days ago — perhaps a sign of how the area is heating up and so offering more competitive offerings is essential.

For now, the service is only on iOS but De Geer says that Android is coming soon, “this year for sure.” He says that the delay was due to (surprise!) fragmentation across too many versions of the platform, and too many devices. But the evolution to Ice Cream Sandwich — the latest OS — is definitely making things more standardized, he notes.

One expansion that is not coming soon is to the U.S. Not only do companies like Square and Here have a lot of early business sewn up, but he also notes that “The U.S. is not too interesting for us given that they use the mag stripe and we focus on chip-and-PIN services.”

More interesting, he says, are markets like Asia and Latin America, where there is good chip-card penetration but card payment facilities are still relatively low among smaller businesses. Still, the next launches are likely to be in Europe, with Germany, France, Italy and Spain all on De Geer’s roadmap, with “one or two of those” expected to come online this summer. To date, iZettle has received venture funding of $16.4 million from Index, Creandum and others to fund that expansion.

Interested companies can either register a request through iZettle’s web site, or via its iTunes app, and the first 3,000 will get a free card reader to get started.

iZettle, The ‘Square Of Europe’, Checks Out Mobile Payments In The UK With 3,000 Free Readers For SMBs

The Doro PhoneEasy 740: Finally, An Android Phone For Your Grandparents


Accessibility has become quite the theme here at Mobile World Congress: Nokia and ZTE have announced new low-cost devices to bring push Windows Phone into developing markets, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt highlighted the importance of connecting all people.

Sweden-based Doro is trying to help in their own way — the company has recently pulled back the curtain on the PhoneEasy 740, an Android-powered smartphone meant to help the older folks in your life stay connected.

It feels like slider phones like this are harder to come by in general these days, but an Android portrait slider? Seems like a odd choice, but Doro seems to make the form factor work for their needs. The 740 has a thick, plastic body that doesn’t feel like the most solid thing in the world but could take its fair share of drops on tile. The keys were large but shallow; don’t get me wrong, they’re totally usable, but they lacked the satisfying feel a good button should impart when pressed.

In addition to the usual nine-key layout on the front, the 740 also features a customizable button on the device’s rear. Think of it as an emergency button. By default, holding it down for a few seconds prompts the phone to continually call and message 5 preset people in case something nasty happens.

The screen was passable — given the device’s target market, it doesn’t make much sense to pick nits with with screen technology here — it was bright, and was great for displaying the UI’s large text

That UI, called Doro Experience, runs on top of (and obscures) Android completely — there are no homescreens, no widgets, and perhaps most importantly, no ways to access the Android Market. Doro has plans to open their own app portal featuring apps developed in-house. The first will be a medicine dose reminder, and a Facebook application is in the works, though they hope to build partnerships with third-party app developers to help bolster their lineup. Doro is also bullish on what they call the Doro Experience Manager, which allows 740 users to allows for remote access to their apps and media by trusted friends and family.

The Doro 740 is set to debut this Spring, and could enjoy a fling in the States — Consumer Cellular, a MVNO geared toward the mature audience carries a few of Doro’s wares, so the 740 may soon be spotted at your local drug store.

The Doro PhoneEasy 740: Finally, An Android Phone For Your Grandparents

iZettle Launches In The Nordics, UK Launch On The Cards


iZettle, the Swedish mobile payments startup that basically competes with Square, has gone live on the App store in the Nordic markets today (Denmark, Norway and Finland). It’s making 5,000 card reader devices available in each country. They’ve also appointed a UK managing director, Stewart Roberts. Stewart was former Director of Global Innovation at Barclaycard. A launch in the UK is therefore all but confirmed.

Unlike square, iZettle’s card reader is a “chip and signature” device, which makes it more secure than Square. However it doesn’t have quite the same advantages, as its reader uses Apple’s proprietary connector so it has to pay Apple for the license on that.

Chip-based payments are the standard in Europe which means it is much better positioned than Square on this market.

iZettle charges sellers 2.75% on a sale plus €0.16. Funds get transferred to bank accounts on the next business day.

The company, appearing at Mobile World Congress, says it has 25,000 users and is most popular in Sweden so far.

iZettle Launches In The Nordics, UK Launch On The Cards