iZettle launches simple card payments in the UK

Yesterday iZettle formally launched in the UK with EE as their distribution partner. I’ve been using iZettle for the last six months for card payments and have been very impressed by the simple, customer centric way they have brought customer present card payments to individuals and small businesses. 

“iZettle is designed for small business and tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, builders, taxi drivers, housekeepers or market stallholders. It is estimated that there may be more than three million people running businesses in the UK who would benefit from the flexibility iZettle offers, with two thirds (66%) of small firms currently owning a smartphone.”

Historically, the cost of hardware, fixed monthly charges and the bar to signing a card acquirer agreement has put such facilities out of reach of individuals and many small businesses. iZettle has removed that barrier; signup via a simple online process, download a free app and purchase an inexpensive card reader that plugs into your iPhone, iPad or Android handset.

“The beauty of iZettle is that it’s simple to use, totally secure and takes seconds for a transaction,” said Jacob de Geer, CEO and co-founder of iZettle, which is used by more than 75,000 small businesses and individuals in six countries. “Whether you are a cabbie, florist, tradesperson or a courier, iZettle gives you the flexibility to operate in both cash and cards. The possibilities are endless because hundreds of thousands of small business can now take plastic. We are very excited about our full commercial launch in the UK and the positive results of our Beta test with 4,000 users over the past six months.”

My only issue with iZettle on the beta was the lack of Visa acceptance. I could accept MasterCard, American Express and Diners using chip and signature but Visa refused to allow iZettle to use either chip and signature or handset PIN entry. iZettle has now resolved this issue by using a different (mobile payments) process for Visa transactions that is kicked off by the insertion of a Visa card into the card reader. With almost 100% of the debit card market in the UK, the lack of Visa acceptance was always going to be a barrier to adoption, so the removal of this issue, albeit with a slightly more complicated user experience, is great news for both iZettle and their customers.

iZettle merchants are charged 2.75% of each transaction value with no monthly fees or contracts. The card readers are available for £20 from EE stores (you might remember them as Orange or T-Mobile stores!) and include a £20 voucher towards transaction fees.

It’s early days but iZettle has the opportunity to totally change the face of customer present payments in the person to person and person to small business space in the UK. For the first time there is a sensibly priced, simple to use, fully functional, alternative to cheques and cash.

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