British mobile commerce is coming in the form of mPowa. mPowa is a free app that works with most smart phone operating systems as well as with a device that connects to your phone using Bluetooth or headphone connection. Oddly enough, the device looks, well, square. Square, that is, in shape, not to be confused with Square, an app/device that lets you accept credit card payments.
mPowa reveals it offers two key differences from Square, the first being you can use your existing merchant account relationship for accepting cards with mPowa, who will only tack on a .25% fee. This could be a real advantage for businesses that have both a significant in-store business but also attend fairs and festivals where mobile payments are a must.
The second key difference seems rather ho-hum: the ability to accept chip and pin cards in addition to the standard mag stripe card. However, the United States payment processing world has not rapidly adopted the chip and pin standard. In fact many payment industry analysts suggest that chip and pin is just too late for wide US adoption and will be displaced by emerging mobile payment schemes like NFC or bar code scanning.
It will be interesting to see how mPowa fairs in gaining market share. Competition is a key stimulator of real process improvement and value added solutions. Maybe mPowa, at minimum, will empower Square to continue to innovate their product and service offering?
Source: MarketWatch June 2012