Problems at the POS18 October 2012 by James Ratcliff
But, of course, Europe is a trickey market to crack and Chip and PIN technology seems to be causing as many problems for these POS start-ups as it is for the card fraudsters it so effectively stymies.
Visa Europe has come down pretty hard on iZettle. The Nordic manufacturer of iPhone-ready card readers has always made a big deal of its strict adherance to PCI standards, and its status as EMV compliant. However, Visa Europe has said it will not allow iZettle to process Visa transactions. Obviously a major blow for the most successful player yet to emerge in the sector outside the US.
EM (less of the V) compliance
Despite its adherance to industry standards, there is a crucial for the compliance guys at Visa Europe - iZettle is not chip and signature, not chip and PIN.
Technologically, iZettle is streets ahead of Square, and EMV Co is happy with the technology. But Visa Europe clearly sees the use of chip and sig as regressive, and risky. Off the record, key people at the network are disappointed. While they are confident that a better, more compliant solution will come along in the not-to-distant future, there is certainly a recognition that iZettle is the best of the bunch right now.
Trying to look on the bright side, those who have been championing the technology at Visa, are emphasising that it is very early days. Certainly there is the possibility that someone will hit on a chip and PIN mobile POS solution, but this is unlikely to hit the mass market any time soon.
Adding the PIN authentication functionality to the app that sits on the handset is a considerable technological challenge.
MasterCard, which as a major investor in iZettle, has no such qualms of course. It remains supportive of the chip and sig system.
MasterCard is at this stage saying that it is not feasible to develop a chip and PIN mobile POS at a price point that makes it affordable to the merchants who would benefit.
Things are moving fast, of course. What is impossible now simply won't be in the near future. But the problem is undoubtedly in the physical form-factor. reverse engineering is never a good idea, and when you begin to consider the leaps being made in the world of Online Banking ePayments and P2P systems, iZettle starts to look a little like a device designed to let you play CDs on an iPod - only of short-term value. As such, a slightly clunky solution is all we really need to bridge the gap.
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