Update at foot of post.
There’s something brewing in the Nordics.
Europe, are you ready?
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European Square competitor iZettle this morning sent out an email informing users that it was forced to withdraw support for Visa card payments in Denmark, Finland and Norway, where it has a strong presence already.
The mobile payments startup acknowledges the news on its @iZettleSupport Twitter account, and says it is working “very hard” to fix things with Visa Europe and bring them back ‘on board’. The situation does not include Sweden, iZettle also said.
The company has already updated its ‘Help’ section on the website, it appears.
iZettle originally launched in Scandinavian countries back in November 2011, and was currently beta-testing its Android app in home country Sweden and gearing up for a full-fledged launch in the UK after raising 25 million euros (roughly $31.4 million) in Series B funding.
We don’t know yet exactly why Visa Europe decided to strong-arm iZettle, but we’ve reached out to both companies and hope to get clarification shortly. We’ll update as soon as we learn more.
Needless to say, this is a very impactful event for such a young company.
Founded in 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden, by serial entrepreneurs Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson, iZettle has received financial backing from MasterCard and VC firms such as Index Ventures, Greylock Partners, Creandum and Northzone.
Visa, notably, is an investor in rival Square.
This is the email that was sent to users this morning, also posted to the company’s blog:
We are sorry to report that based on a policy decision by Visa Europe, we have no choice but to stop processing Visa card payments in Denmark, Finland and Norway on August 1.
Please know that we will continue to accept MasterCard and Diners Club cards, so for now those are the cards you’ll need to ask your customers to pay with. We hope we can bring Visa card acceptance back to Denmark, Finland and Norway shortly and will of course keep you posted on the development.
Thank you for your ongoing support and use of the iZettle mobile payments service. We very much appreciate your business and hope iZettle will still prove a valuable service for you.
We wish you a pleasant summer and hope to be back to you soon with news that we’ve resolved this disappointing situation.
Jacob de Geer, CEO
UPDATE: iZettle CEO, Jacob de Geer tells us that the company is “Extremely disappointed that merchants won’t be able to accept Visa for now.”
iZettle continues to accept Visa payments in Sweden, where the service is fully rolled out. De Geer points out that Denmark, Finland and Norway are currently all beta markets for the startup, with limited user bases.
While he’s unable to elaborate on exactly what policy decision Visa has made with regard to iZettle accepting its cards in Denmark, Finland and Norway, he notes that “The payments industry is extremely conservative and it takes time to change. Things don’t always happen overnight and innovation is a bumpy road.”
We’ll provide a further update if and when we receive comment from Visa Europe.
Hat tip to Henriette Weber.