US firm Zipmark plans to expand its mobile payments service for SMEs with the launch of an Android app in the second half of 2013, according to founder Jay Bhattacharya (pictured), speaking with Mobile World Live.
Zipmark’s clients are SMEs who need to collect regular payments from their customers. They are typically utility companies, property managers and self storage firms to whom Zipmark offers faster processing of existing payments from their customers.
The customer of a utility company accesses the Zipmark service by downloading its app, currently only available for iOS devices.
Zipmark hopes utility company customers will want to access its service because it is a less cumbersome means to pay their bills. For instance, the firm adds QR codes to utility bills so users can scan and then pay bills more easily.
“We are giving companies the opportunity to move from being inefficient to a modern, mobile-first process,” said Bhattacharya, a former Citigroup executive.
The firm guarantees payments to its clients within one business day, effectively taking over the risk of payment collection itself. In return, it charges its clients one per cent of the sum processed with a maximum of $5 per transaction.
The bank relies on its clients’ customers having their own bank accounts. Banks are also Zipmark’s main competitors, so leaving it reliant on rivals.
Bhattacharya argues Zipmark is protected by federal regulation in the US which means banks must handle cheques originating with the firm. He also said Zipmark is looking to partner with certain banks to further speed up processing time.
Other competitors include PayPal. There are also similar services to Zipmark outside the US. In Europe, there is Skrill’s Moneybookers service. And in the UK there is a firm called Gocardless.