SumUp makes US debut with EMV compatible mPOS

When Apple launched its long-awaited mobile wallet last October, some European-based payments companies took the announcement as a sure sign Near Field Communication would become the dominant method for proximity mobile payments in the U.S.

Soon after the announcement, companies such as U.K.-based Proxama, a mobile engagement and loyalty firm, revealed plans to enter the U.S. to court big-name brands and merchants to deploy advertising and rewards programs based partly on NFC’s two-way capabilities. European companies at the time described the U.S. market as fertile ground for expansion across the pond as NFC-based mobile wallets, Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, and the EMV migration converged at once.

Fast forward 12 months and a big piece of that triple threat has arrived in the U.S. with the EMV liability shift deadline now behind us. With that in mind, U.K.-based mobile point-of-sale provider SumUp today announced its entry into an already crowded U.S. market to provide small-and-medium-sized businesses with an EMV and contactless compatible proprietary device that works with smartphones and tablets running either the Android or iOS mobile operating system.

SumUp will market its product directly to U.S. merchants. The company will also seek to entice its current European partners that have a presence in the U.S. to consider the device for stateside operations.

SumUp CEO Daniel Klein told Mobile Payments Today in an interview ahead of the announcement that it will eventually seek partnerships with larger entities in the U.S. to deploy its product. Add-ons such as payment processing and risk and anti-fraud products would be available in any deals with larger companies, he said.

Merchants now can preorder the device, which ships in January, on SumUp’s website for $99. The company offers merchants a per-transaction fee of 2.75 percent and there are no long-term contracts.

Klein hopes SumUp can bring down its current U.S. transaction fee in the same way the company did for merchants in Europe. Its key markets there include Germany and the U.K. The company also has a presence in Brazil and 12 additional countries.

“We actually hope we can influence the price coming down [among all providers in the U.S.],” Klein said. “It’s something that happens in Europe. It took us less than a year to bring the rate downs significantly. Payments processing should be affordable.”

Klein realizes SumUp will face stiff competition in the U.S. from providers who already have a strong foothold with many SMBs.

Square’s aura shines brighter than ever now that the company has taken the first steps to go public.

PayPal last month debut its EMV-compatible PayPal Here mobile point-of-sale device.

And in the past couple of months, a multitude of mPOS providers have debuted EMV-compatible devices.

Klein believes SumUp can differentiate itself in the market in a couple of ways. It promotes itself as the first “fully-certified EMV mPOS system in the world to cover the entire payment process: card terminals, Android and iOS mobile apps, a payment processing platform and risk and anti-fraud solutions.”

Klein also believes good customer service can make a difference with merchants.

“We found one of the biggest aspects of the card-acceptance industry really needs to change is building true trust through a superior service rather than tying merchants into something they don’t want,” he said. “We want to convince merchants to stay with us because of great service and a great product and I think merchants appreciate that.”

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