Finnish bank OP-Pohjola has introduced a mobile point of sale system designed to help consumers take advantage of local tax breaks.
"If you're making certain types of payments, you can get a tax credit, and this product helps with the documentation for that," says Will Jones, president of the Europe, Middle East and Africa for Monitise, which is providing the technology that underpins the bank's white-label mobile point of sale service.
Like mobile point of sale services in the U.S. such as Square and Roam, Monitise's offering is targeted at business owners such as independent contractors who work on private homes.
Some of these repairsgenerally those that improve the quality of housing or energy efficiencyqualify for tax rebates of up to half the value of the purchase through a program called Kotitalousvahennys. The mobile point of sale app automatically generates digital tax credit receipts at the point of sale.
"The customers don't have to worry about scurrying around for paper invoices or worry about locating the proper tax forms on a website," Jones says.
OP-Pohjola's mobile payment system will also take advantage of the high use of cards in Finland, where cards account for 70% of all payments, says Kasimir Hirn, director of the cards and emerging payments business at OP-Pohjola Group, a Helsinki-based banking group.
The mobile point of sale service leverages a PIN pad that reads the payment card's chip and uses Bluetooth to communicate with the merchant's tablet or smartphone. It will be available in Finnish, Swedish and English.
"We want to offer new solutions based on mobile technology which are very cost effective and make the acceptance of card payments more attractive and possible considering its cost, even for small businesses," Hirn says.
The bank plans to target all merchant segments, particularly those looking to avoid the expense of traditional payment terminals. "We also want to activate new segments like services related to housing, such as plumbers, child care and renovations," Hirn says.
OP-Pohjola will offer ancillary features such as inventory management and marketing. The bank also offers a mobile wallet to all Finnish consumers and merchants irrespective of the user's financial services relationships, Hirn says.
OP-Pohjola plans to support QR code and Near Field Communication payments at the point of sale via its wallet later this year, he says. It also plans to add person-to-person payments.
"So this mobile point of sale initiative is part of our mobile solutions, through which we want to offer our customer easy entry into the digital world and give them tools to utilize the mobile revolution," Hirn says.
Monitise, which launched its white-label mobile point of sale service in May, competes in Finland and Scandinavia with iZettle, a Stockholm-based company that is also expanding internationally, leveraging an investment from Banco Santander to reach into Latin America.