Payleven and Elavon Launch Mobile Payment Technologies for European SMEs

Smartphone card payments start-up company Payleven will start accepting chip-and-PIN transactions in Europe from 15 October, enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to accept payments from major credit and debit cards via smartphones. Its competitor, Elavon, has announced the expansion of its European mobile chip-and-PIN service to Ireland.

Payleven, based in London and Berlin, announced its chip-and-PIN technology at the recent App World show in London. The company said that it uses a secure device linked to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, enabling customers to slide their cards into the device and enter their PIN on a keypad. Transactions are as secure as on a traditional card terminal and merchants are fully protected, said Payleven, which plans to offer chip-and-PIN transactions in the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Brazil.

Payleven co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO), Rafael Otero, said that enabling chip and PIN is important, because until now the company could only accept transactions using magnetic stripes. In the UK, around 85% of the 4 billion card transactions that take place annually involve either debit cards or Visa-branded cards. Visa only accepts chip-and-PIN payments, while debit cards transactions in the UK require the payments processor to accept a PIN.

Without chip-and-PIN capabilities, a mobile payment (m-payment) terminal in the UK can only accept the 15% of transactions that rely on either the magnetic stripe or a combination of a chip readout and a signature (chip-and-sign) for authentication, added Otero.

In a separate announcement, Elavon said that it has extended its smartphone chip-and-PIN service to Ireland. The service was launched in the UK in January.

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