Powa is reaching out to individual software vendors around the world in an attempt to accelerate integration of its point of sale tools with local mobile apps.
The London-based Powa, which in 2013 received a cash infusion to expand to new markets, hopes the relationships vendors have with local merchants will open doors for Powa's mix of point of sale and merchant tools. Powa also recently acquired MPayMe to increase its international profile.
Powa's initial partners include e-Nabler, which has locations in Florida and Puerto Rico; Nera Telecommunications, which has operations in the Asia Pacific region; Sektor, which operates in Australia and New Zealand; and uMobile, which operates in Brazil.
"In Brazil, mobile point of sale is a relatively new concept, but Brazil is usually fast to adopt new technology," says Heman Molina, CEO of uMobile.
The fast pace of technology increases the competitive pressure for merchants to adopt new payments innovation, Molina says.
uMobile plans to offer Powa's developer tools to supermarkets and retail shopping centers. "These businesses want to differentiate themselves, and getting out of the traditional point of sale and using something new is attractive," Molina says.
The developer program includes Powa's point of sale software developer kit (SDK) and an online portal. It also features access to SDK updates, support, discussion forums, product announcements, support for EMV PIN pads, and cut and paste code for new applications. Fees for the service are determined by the local partners and the merchants.
"Right now a lot of the point of sale systems are cluttered and not consistent, and take up a lot of counter space," says Bill Pittman, executive vice president of customer implementation for PowaPOS. "We've built an all-in-one product."
Powa's tools are designed to ease the integration between retail apps and Powa's T-Series point of sale hardware, ancillary merchant services and the PowaTag mobile commerce product. PowaTag uses Bluetooth to sense when consumers approach a product, poster or retail display and enables purchasing through the merchant's mobile app. It can also receive cues from television ads, radio spots or public address announcements.
Powa's bundle also includes an interface that works with iOS, Android and Windows operating systems, cash drawers and barcode scanners.
An important part of the product mix is Powa's support of EMV-chip cards, particularly in markets such as the U.S. which are still migrating to the technology, Pittman says.
"In the U.S., EMV is gaining ground because of the data breaches that have happened," Pittman says. "If you are [managing payments acceptance], you want to make sure you support the new standards."