The change to allow anyone to receive payment via the service has initially gone live in the UK, and it will “shortly” roll out in the company’s other markets, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Brazil. Like merchants, members of the public must have the Payleven payment terminal (which costs £89) and are charged a 2.75 percent fee on all transactions.
In conjunction with the move, Payleven has eased its signup process for merchants who can now register to use the company’s terminals quickly. Rather than relying on paperwork-based approvals — a process that requires the submission of ID and proof of address and can take weeks to close out — its new electronic onboarding takes “a much shorter amount of time” — though the company doesn’t specific exactly how long.
COO and founder Alston Zecha believes that these moves are “a major milestone” for the company as it works to make mobile payment a mainstream activity.
“It is no secret that cashless payment is the future, and the democratisation of card acceptance is a key element in this evolution,” he said in a statement. “We have solved two long-standing problems faced by the payment industry: designing a simple, instant signup process and empowering individuals as merchants.”
While bill sharing solutions — like Singapore-based BillPin — are growing in popularity, it remains to be seen if ordinary people will turn to mobile payments when bank transfer and other existing methods work fine and are free of transaction charges.
At this stage, mobile payment itself remains niche in the UK and Europe but, in making this move, Payleven is opening itself up to the possibility that, as consumers begin buying everyday items like coffee with their phones, they might turn to the technology for personal payments.
Payleven is up against a number of Square-like startups in Asia who are making progress while the US payment giant remains active in North America only.
Payleven became the first service to introduce a Chip & PIN solution in Europe — where the technology is used to authenticate card payments — and it will be interesting to see if its competitors follow suit once more by expanding their technologies to allow members of the public to receive payments.
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