Swedish start-up iZettle, which provides technology that turns mobile phones into card payment terminals, is preparing to move into the UK market, hiring former Barclaycard innovation chief Stewart Roberts to lead its operations in the country.
The iZettle card reader and accompanying application enables merchants to accept card payments using iPhones, iPods and iPads. It is similar to US offerings from Square, Intuit and VeriFone but works with chip, rather than mag-stripe, cards.
Despite only launching in August, with a full scale commercial roll out in November, the service already has 25,000 active users in Sweden, with iZettle claiming to have grown the country's point-of-sale market by 15%. The company charges 2.75% of the sale plus SKr1.50 for each transaction.
Having established itself in its home market, iZettle is now preparing to expand into Europe, beginning with a launch this week in Denmark, Finland and Norway. During the beta phase iZettle is making 5000 chip-card readers per country available free of charge.
Beyond this, it is looking at the continent's major markets and in May will welcome as UK managing director Stewart Roberts, who is currently director of global innovation at Barclaycard.
IZettle will face a competitor when it arrives in Britain, where mPowa is hoping to steal a march on it. However, mPowa's system relies on card mag-stripes, not chips, a factor which iZettle - EMV-approved and PCI-DSS compliant - believes gives it a significant advantage.
Jacob de Geer, CEO, iZettle, says: "We estimate there are at least 20 million small businesses across Europe, not to mention all the individuals that could benefit from the iZettle service. The Nordics are just the first step of our global expansion scheduled for 2012."