The South African-developed Payment Pebble, the brainchild of entrepreneur Stafford Masie, has been launched in Australia with the country’s third largest bank by market capitalisation, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ).
Developed by Thumbzup, the mobile point-of-sale device is already available in South Africa through banking group Absa. In September, TechCentral reported that the Payment Pebble had been opened up to third-party developers, allowing any financial institution to integrate the device into its own app and banking platform.
ANZ announced on Wednesday that it will launch the device under the ANZ FastPay brand, its platform for accepting mobile payments, which has until now only been able to accept card-not-present transactions.
“We built this product for a South African environment that is riddled with connectivity, literacy and smartphone issues. We knew that if the Payment Pebble could live here successfully, we could take it internationally,” says Masie, who founded Thumbzup.
He says that through Absa, thousands of Payment Pebbles have been deployed in South Africa in the past three months.
“We have integrated our application programming interfaces with ANZ’s platforms to enable secure card-present payments inside of their application,” explains Masie.
“We don’t have a lot of mobile banking solutions for merchants, but consumer mobile banking is widespread [in Australia],” says the GM for small business at ANZ, Kate Gibson. “We have about 9 000 customers using our existing FastPay solution and we will be converting them to this new solution.”
The Payment Pebble is a mobile card reader that can be connected to either an Android or iOS device using the the audio jack of any smartphone. The device allows merchants — typically small enterprises and sole proprietors, but also large enterprises — to accept card payments using their smartphone or tablet and supports chip-and-Pin-based payments.
ANZ is busy with live pilots this year and will launch the card reader commercially during the first half of next year.
“This is the most secure way to process mobile payments and is in direct response to feedback from our business customers who told us they wanted a more convenient way to enter card details,” says ANZ CEO Philip Chronican.
Thumbzup recently released a number of major updates to the Pebble, including a new, internationally certified Pin-input mechanism that Masie says is easier for people to use.
There’s also a software suite in the works to help businesses manage the device more effectively. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media