The Square mobile payment company, from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has revolutionised the idea of mobile-based payments in the US by allowing businesses to accept card payments, quickly, easily and cheaply.
The little white dongle, which can be attached to iPhones and iPads where there's mobile data connectivity, allows the vendor to swipe the card, enter the amount and pass over to the user to authorise.
With Sqaure, or rival company PayPal Here, still to reveal when they might be crossing the Atlantic, a new European-based solution is coming to the UK.
The iZettle company, which has already earned some success in the Nordic region, is launching a free dongle and software to 3,000 invited businesses in the UK and is aimed at supporting those small companies that have never accepted plastic before.
So, it could be perfect for market stalls, taxi drivers, roadside cafes, t-shirt sellers at concerts and more. According to Jacob De Gaer, the company's CEO, there are 20 million businesses in Europe that fit into this category.
Unlike Square, which swipes the magnetic strip on the card, iZettle's is a solution more akin to the UK's chip-and-pin infrastructure. The dongle fits into the charging port and the card is simply inserted. Users will then be asked to sign the screen with their finger before the transaction is completed. For its troubles iZettle takes a small commission from the payment, but that won't cost users a penny.
The service is for iOS initially, but the company promises an Android solution soon. Interested businesses can download the iPhone app and register. The app features the ability to itemise the inventory's so businesses can keep track of exactly what they sell.
Whereas NFC has is still in the early stages of its development, services like Square have been massively successful in the United States. It'll be interesting to see how iZettle's solution performs on these shores.