A world-first payment device for small businesses has been launched by South African bank Absa in Johannesburg today (Thursday).
The bank announced its plans to launch a mobile payment acceptance service for businesses that works using a mobile phone.
This comes after an agreement with local payment innovations company thumbzup, to enable businesses and entrepreneurs on-the-go across South Africa to accept debit or credit card payments using their smartphones or tablets through a world first, plug-in device called ‘The Payment Pebble.’
Under the agreement, Absa is set to provide its Payment Pebble as a value added service to all small business owners and merchants on-the-go with availability scheduled for early 2013.
The Pebble is a small card-reader device (taken from the concept of the size and shape of a pebble) that plugs into a 3.5mm audio input on any mobile smartphone or tablet and includes a mobile app.
Noted as one of the key differentiating features of the technology is its ability to enable safe and secure payment acceptance as a pin entry device, for both chip and magnetic swipe strip cards.
Arrie Rautenbach, Absa Head of Retail Markets, said there was no other mobile acceptance device in the world that enables merchants to process payments remotely – with a plug in device – containing a mobile app that supports chip, pin and magnetic stripe cards and allows both debit and credit card transactions without the need for a power supply.
Rautenbach said: “It is a game changing innovation with the potential to transform the way in which entrepreneurs can safely accept offsite payments.”
Rautenbach continued to explain the exclusive deal with thumbzup enabled Absa to launch this global-first solution to the South African market with further potential to export this to other African countries through a relationship with the bank’s parent company, Barclays.
The man behind thumbzup is well known South African techpreneur and Chief Executive of the company, Stafford Masie.
He described the agreement as a major milestone for both organisations.
Masie said “We are extremely excited about our partnership with Absa, not only because we will bring a world first innovation to the market with the largest retail bank in South Africa. But because we have gained a business partner that understands our vision for payments into the future and a bank that is truly forward-thinking in their ambition to change the lives of their customers for the better. This is the success story of a local company achieving extraordinary things globally, and Absa made this happen.”
“We have a strong global commitment to innovation. As the payment technology landscape changes Absa is focused on delivering pioneering solutions, to fundamentally transform the customer experience and build strong foundations for growth. The announcement of our partnership with thumbzup is critical to ensuring that we remain highly competitive in the payments industry and become the go-to-bank,” concluded Rautenbach.
Also at the event Massie said we should expect a major international announcement soon from his company.