Absa explains mobile payment device delay

Banking group, Absa has moved to explain the delay of the launch of its mobile point-of-sale (POS) device, the Payment Pebble, which it announced late last year.

In November 2012,  the bank announced that it has entered into an agreement with Thumbzup for its plug-in pebble device.

The bank was due to launch the product as a value-added service to all small business owners and merchants on-the-go from early 2013, however, Willie van Zyl  head: commercial cards and card acquiring at Absa, told BusinessTech that the group is awaiting paperwork completion with testing bodies.

“We are very close,” van Zyl said of the expected launch date of the pebble. “We are absolutely ready to pilot,” he added.

The card division lead said that because the product has been built in South Africa, for South African use, it needed to adapt to international  standards. “We have gone through every testing step, we’ve passed every test,” he said.

According to van Zyl, the pilot phase would see more merchants added and would be concluded within a matter of weeks. He said he expected the pebble to be out in the market before the end of the year. “We are days away,” he said of the regulatory process.

According to Absa, the mobile payment system would also be used in its markes in Africa before being adopted by Barclays in Europe.

Absa Pebble
Absa Pebble

Thumbzup, is a tech company founded by tech startup entrepreneur and former Google SA GM, Stafford Masie.

Nedbank has already launched a mobile point-of-sale solution in February, called PocketPOS, claiming a first for South Africa.

The mobile POS solution enables businesses to process debit and credit card transactions by using a smartphone connected to a secure card reader.

In October 2012, UK company Powa Technologies Group signed a deal with FNB to offer its mobile payment device in the country.

The device, mPowa, works by using a free mobile phone app and a reader, which connects to a smartphone or mobile device by plugging into its headphone socket or connecting via Bluetooth.

FNB remains coy over a launch date, however. “We are in the final stages of certification and design and will soon be active with the product in the coming months,” it said.

More on Absa

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Absa explains mobile payment device delay