Merchants only need software, no additional hardware required
WorldPay targeting cash-only micro-merchants
Acceptance limited to certain Android phones, and Visa and MasterCard contactless cards
Point of View
Global merchant acquirer and payments processor, WorldPay, is trialling card-acceptance software in London, for up to six months. By downloading the app – My Business Mobile – merchants can turn an Android smartphone into a point-of-sale terminal without any extra hardware. It accepts Visa and MasterCard contactless cards and mobile payments.
WorldPay is targeting micro-merchants who only accept cash currently, such as coffee carts, festival vendors and pop-up shops. The app accepts payments of up to £30, consistent with the general limit on contactless payments in the UK.
Participating merchants can only use certain smartphones as devices, for the pilot at least, namely the Samsung S7 and the Huawei Google Nexus 6P. WorldPay will loan one of these phones to merchants who do not have one for the duration of the trial. WorldPay will also cover merchants’ card-processing fees. It is not clear what fees might look like post-pilot.
The app encrypts card details, which it sends to WorldPay’s PCI-DSS compliant data centres for processing and monitoring for suspicious activity. Sensitive card details are not stored on the phone.
Use of software to facilitate contactless card acceptance at the point of sale is a relatively new technological development. Like host card emulation (HCE), software-only card acceptance uses tokenisation to encrypt sensitive card data with no provisioned secure element required. Dedicated hardware devices on the other hand do use a secure element to encrypt card data.
The technology underlying the WorldPay app has been used since Google introduced HCE for Android devices in 2013 allowing individuals to make contactless payments using a smartphone. Some security concerns on the use of smartphones to accept payments have arisen recently, but these have tended to focus on transactions requiring PINs. Security standards regarding ‘commercial off the shelf’ devices are currently being developed by EMVCo.
If the London pilot is successful, would WorldPay roll out My Business Mobile here? WorldPay already operates here as a provider of card-acquiring services to online merchants. And Australians are the highest users of contactless in the world. So perhaps it might.
Likely merchant uptake is less clear, but we can expect fees to be strong factor. The pilot delivers an essentially free service to participating merchants, but what will happen when the service is launched more widely? Will merchants be prepared to pay? Irrespective of price, with only an app to download, maybe merchants will keep My Business Mobile in their back pocket, just in case.