Singapore’s M1 wooed cash-based small businesses with a free card reader that they connect to an Android smartphone or tablet to process card payments from customers.
Although the card reader is free, users must have a M1 data subscription and pay an additional charge of S$5.35 ($4) per month for the service.
The operator, which is partnering with CIMB bank, MasterCard and Wirecard on the launch, is hoping to capitalise on recent growth in new businesses in Singapore, the kind of new entrants who typically prefer accepting cash.
The service has no minimum monthly transaction level or deposit required, and M1 promises “attractive rates” for handling transactions and daily payment settlement.
Merchants can pick up the M1 mPOS card reader from the operator’s stores, if they first pass an online approval process. On picking up their card reader, they then download the app from Google Play to activate it. An iOS version is to follow “soon”, M1 said.
The operator pointed to a surge in small businesses in Singapore, with 12,000 sole proprietorships registered since April 2014. In addition to user interest in being self-employed, government has also encouraged start-ups.
The M1 card reader can accept both cards with EMV chips and magnetic stripes, so visitors holding foreign-issued cards without EMV chips will also be able to pay using the new device. To verify the transaction, the smartphone screen can be turned into a signature pad for customers to electronically sign for their transaction. Once the sale is complete, an electronic receipt is generated for the customer, which can be sent via e-mail.