A point of sale in your pocket

These gadgets are ideal for farmers doing business far from banks and ATMs.

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A point-of-sale machine allows a buyer to make a cashless transaction easily and efficiently. Now Absa, in collaboration with thumbzup (www.thumbzup.co.za), has made the process fully portable with the Payment Pebble, a mobile point of sale (mPOS) payment solution.

If, for example, you sell produce at a farmer’s market, this device enables you to accept credit card payments from customers using your smartphone or tablet. The Payment Pebble attaches to your phone via the audio jack and processes credit and debit cards. For security reasons, banking regulations prohibit the use of a system whereby you enter a PIN onto smartphones and tablets. But with the Pebble, the PIN number is not stored on the phone itself, so there is no security risk.

A once-off initiation fee of R160 (ex VAT) is charged for the first Payment Pebble device and R30 (ex VAT) for each Payment Pebble thereafter. The Pebble costs R50 (ex VAT) a month for the first year and R20 (ex VAT) a month thereafter. Absa banking customers pay a 3,2% merchant fee, while non-Absa customers are charged 3,75%.

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An alternative
Another mPOS offering is the ZipZap (see www.zipzap.co.za). Unlike the Absa Pebble, which plugs into a phone, this is a standalone device that communicates with a smartphone via Bluetooth. In reviews of the Pebble, some customers have complained about the PIN entry method. This can be confusing for those who have not used a smartphone before.

They might therefore be more comfortable with a Zipzap as it’s similar to the well-known mobile speedpoint. The Zipzap device costs R1 799 (ex VAT) and the merchant fee is a flat 3%. This technology is particularly useful for the tourism industry, farmers in the hunting industry who are in remote areas but have cellphone coverage, and anyone who travels a lot.

Both Payment Pebble and ZipZap accept Mastercard and Visa. “The travel and tourism industry’s sizable contribution to the economy makes it only logical that we should provide the support and infrastructure to facilitate the growth of businesses of all sizes – from the bed-and-breakfast establishments to tour guides on the road,” says Visa’s Previn Pillay.