Danish mobile point of sale provider Wallmob is introducing a new tablet stand to a payments market where technology is heavily influenced by the card companies that dominate the region.
Wallmob's new iPad stand is designed to be a stationary point of sale device that can go mobile as needed. Its payments app is aimed at small to medium sized businesses, and Wallmob will produce customized versions for larger retailers. The company's clients include the Red Cross, Armani and L'Oreal.
As Wallmob looks to place its tablet with merchants, the company is challenged to work with the nationally dominant card programs that exert control over the technology used to handle payments, says Ken Villum Klausen, CEO of Wallmob.
"To process payments in Scandinavia is tough, you have to be approved by the acquirers, and there is a monopoly in Scandinavian countries," Klausen says.
Wallmob has built its technology to work with Teller, the ubiquitous Nordic acquirer, and Teller's parent company Nets, which works with most of the local banks and retailers to accept card payments. There aren't many mobile point of sale providers in the Nordic region, though Ingenico is planning a rollout for later in 2013.
"Countries like Norway and Denmark may be small, but it's a huge market for us," Klausen says.
Teller, which is operated by Nets, has a complex authorization process that includes a merchant registration form. Nets has its own series of approval forms for payments terminals. Nets and Teller also have different rules for online and card-present payments.
"You need to certify your payment terminal and the terminal provider. Only then can you process payments" Klausen says, adding that most Danish retailers cooperate with Nets and Teller. Wallmob is certified to accept card payments at the point of sale by Nets and Teller, and as it moves into other markets, it expects to encounter more challenges in local payment environments.
"Germany, for example, is a huge challenge. Each German state has its own credit card program, and you have to work with the different local acquirers to process the cards," Klausen says.
It's not unusual for mobile payment companies to face headwinds when expanding in Europe. iZettle in 2012 had a brief dispute with Visa Europe which resulted in the company halting mobile point of sale payments for a time.
"Today there are local card schemes as well as national schemes, so pretty much everybody in the country uses those schemes as the main payments method," says Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent, It is possible these card programs have rules that differ from other countries across the continent, causing further complication for mobile payment companies seeking to offer services in all of Europe, he says.
To attract merchants to mobile payments, Wallmob is also tying mobile acceptance to other tasks, such as inventory management. The design and function are geared toward a full shopping experience for consumers and a broad management tool for stores, Klausen says.
"The stand is integrated into a retailers' enterprise resource planning system and their electronic commerce systems," he says.
Wallmob's stand is similar Square Stand, which U.S.-based mobile payments provider Square debuted in May. Square built the stand to target larger merchants and restaurants. PayPal has also added iPad capabilities to PayPal Here, its mobile point of sale product.
The added function provided by a tablet is necessary when serving larger merchants, Klausen says.
"We don't want to have just a payments-only solution, but also a fully functional point of sale system," Klausen says.