Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores in London will be selling a mobile chip-and-PIN reader from Payleven—the first time an EMV mobile POS has been available through a regular retail chain, The Next Web reported on Wednesday (May 29).
The reader, a separate battery-powered PINpad that connects with an iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth, will sell for £99 (about US$150), with a 2.75 percent fee per transaction. (The reader works with Bluetooth-equipped Android smartphones and tablets too, but we're pretty sure that's a capability Apple won't be highlighting in its stores.)
That $150 price point (or $120 if you subtract a £20 credit) makes Payleven's reader much more expensive than swipe-based systems from Square and PayPal (NASDAQ:EBAY) that sell in U.S. chains for between $10 and $15. Mag-stripe readers (and the cards they read) are simply cheaper to make, though they're dramatically less secure. In the U.K., where EMV mandates have made chip-and-PIN the standard, mag-stripe POS isn't viable, and the need to add a card slot and separate PINpad pretty much makes makes a separate, pricey device a necessity.
Still, the separate device is a kludge. It's a very practical kludge, since it means Payleven and its competitors can work with both iOS and Android devices, and with much better security than Square's dongle, which literally can't pass the retail security standards required by Visa, which owns a piece of Square. But in some ways the Payleven device is simply inelegant—the antithesis of what Apple is all about.
That hasn't stopped Apple from deciding to stock the device in its stores, which raises at least two interesting possibilities. Is Apple planning to gently nudge Payleven in the direction of redesign to make Payleven's PINpad look a lot more like an iPhone twin? Or is this Apple's chance to get a much closer look at how it might start adding chip-and-PIN capabilities to the iPod Touches and iPads that have become ubiquitous for mobile POS at big U.S. retailers?
- See this The Next Web story
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