A new payment system poised to go live in the UK will enable companies of all sizes to accept credit and debit card payments through their mobile phone. mPowa is a service that includes a mobile phone app and a reader that connects to a smartphone or mobile device either by plugging into its headphone socket or via Bluetooth.
The mobile app is free to download on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices and functions as the control centre that accepts the payment. It monitors payments made by card as well as cash and cheque, as well as processing each transaction securely. The reader, when connected to a mobile phone, is used to swipe the magnetic strip of the card, or for the chip and pin device, the card is inserted and the customer is prompted to enter their PIN code. mPowa will enable businesses, including sole traders, to take payments immediately without waiting for invoices to be issued and paid.
The device is launched as many businesses are struggling to survive because of bad debt. In the UK, £35.5 billion of debt is owed to SMEs alone. In the second half of last year, small and medium firms reported waiting an average of 29.6 days longer than agreed payment terms, which is a figure that represents an increase over the first half of 2011.
Because many firms are currently unable to accept card payments due to the cost of devices, mPowa will function as a way of shortening the payment process from what can be months, to a matter of minutes.
Heavyweight serial entrepreneur Dan Wagner, Chairman and CEO of Powa Technologies, the company behind mPowa, said, “We created mPowa as a response to an age-old problem that needed a solution – a universal payment system that will enable anyone to accept money from customers without excessive costs or waiting times. Whether you’re a large enterprise looking to mobilise your sales team, a market trader, or a local plumber who wants to accept payment on the spot, even from customers who don’t have cash to hand, this is a unique offering that will have a huge impact right across the country.”
Both the mobile app and reader are free and the only cost associated with using mPowa is the small 25p or 0.25% fee charged for each credit or debit card payment processed, making it accessible to all businesses. And because it accommodates existing banking relationships, there’s no need for a business to change its banking details to use the service.
A web-based Merchant Dashboard account management system enables users to fully monitor payments in addition to the mobile app. Meanwhile, receipts can be sent by email or SMS.
Dan continued, “I am always speaking to businesses that squander valuable time chasing late payments because they were unable to take the money upfront in the first place. This problem is crippling companies who are already struggling in this difficult economic climate and many are having to close their doors because of this. mPowa will be an invaluable service for accepting payments whether the point of sale is the doorstep or the shop floor.”