A new mobile credit card reader to be offered in the U.S. by a European startup will accept magnetic stripe cards for payment, but the company is not concerned the U.S. move to EMV cards will affect merchant interest in the device.
After all, chip-and-PIN cards are not yet widely available in the U.S., a company executive says.
Erply Ltd., a Tallinn, Estonia-based point-of-sale and retail inventory management software provider, announced Aug. 23 the availability of its new Erply iPad Swiper for use with Apple Inc. iPads to the more than 20,000 merchants using its point-of-sale and inventory software programs. The reader, which attaches to an iPad's charger port, also will be available for use with Apple iPhones within three months, the company says.
Erply also has offices in London and New York, operating under the name Point of Sale Inc. in the United States. The company initially intends to market the Erply iPad Swiper, which can accept payments initiated with all major credit cards, in the U.S.
The device also contains a near field communication chip for use to accept payments when phones become available that also have the chips, Erply CEO Kris Hiiemaa says.
As for EMV card acceptance, Hiiemaa seems willing to wait for the chip card market to develop in the U.S.
"We are not sure when we would come out with a version to accept the EMV card in the United States," Hiiemaa says. "Likely, when we see more chip-and-PIN cards in use."
Visa has set Oct. 1, 2015, as the date when liability will shift from issuers to merchant acquirers if fraud occurs in a transaction that could have been prevented with a chip-enabled payment terminal.
Using a cellular connection or Wi-Fi, if available at the store, the Erply iPad Swiper transmits a customer's encrypted credit card code directly to a merchant terminal that uses Erply point-of-sale software, a company spokesperson says.
Retail merchants using the device will be able process payments anywhere on a sales floor and check inventory in a storeroom, such as a camera shop or shoe store, without shifting to different software programs, the company said in a press release.
With the Erply credit card reader priced at $50 with a transaction fee of 1.9% of the sale, Hiiemaa believes the product will be competitive with the mobile card reader technologies offered by Square Inc. and VeriFone Systems Inc.
Square charges merchants a flat fee of 2.75% of each sale, but its reader and software are free, according to Square's website.
Erply software costs range between $70 and $1,000 per month, depending on the size of the retail business, according to Erply's website.
The company serves small-business retailers but has recently worked on agreements with Fortune 500 companies that will be completed soon, Hiiemaa says, declining to name the companies.
"We have exciting plans and will launch something even more interesting soon, but we can't reveal them now," Hiiemaa says of his company, which was recently named a Top 10 "Startup to Watch" by the Wall Street Journal Europe.
One industry consultant contends the Erply device falls in place with vendors' growing interest in mobile payments.
"It's a very interesting device, and it has near-field communication. But it won't be the last one with that and, in fact, all of these companies will have to look at devices that offer mag-stripe, contactless and EMV in the future," says Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group LLC.
EMV acceptance "is where the U.S. is going," and Erply has until October of 2015 to provide that, Ablowitz says. "Every upgrade from now on will be based on how ready it is for EMV," he says.