Circle Payments is launching a new technology that relies solely on credit card payments, directly challenging the furore surrounding mobile solutions.
Apple Pay is the biggest threat the credit card has seen since its inception. While Google, Square and others have failed, Apple is likely to inject the mobile payments market with some life and implement a simple, clean and coveted mobile payment service. Apple Pay is available to anyone with the latest iPhone, and all new users need to do is point it to the credit card details already stored in iTunes.
But while industry experts predict that mobile spending will reach $90 billion in the US over the next three years, it will still represent less than one percent of all consumer spending in the U.S.
“There are over 500 million debit cards in India, and a billion in the USA,” says Circle Payments founder Nitish Kannan, adding that anyone with a debit card can use Circle Payments.
Circle is a mobile app designed as a way for small merchants without a proper store front, like street vendors, to accept card payments through their existing phones and tablets. Merchants can accept payments from credit cards via a smartphone camera, and tie the service to their bank account by scanning their own debit card. This will be especially useful for smaller businesses that might be continually on the move, or in a marketplace set-up.
Unlike with Square or Google Wallet, there is no need to get hold of additional hardware like a card reader. Businesses do not need to plug their phones into a physical card reader. Once chip-and-pin cards finally hit the US, merchants using Square will need new readers, but those using Circle can continue to operate in the same way.
Kannan feels that new mobile payments technology ignores these smaller business models, and may, in Apple’s case, cater to a different market that ignores their needs.
“Google wallet and Apple Pay are only for big retailers with merchant accounts,” Kannan adds. “We empower anyone in the world to become a merchant.”
The adoption of mobile payments will be slow going, and are unlikely to completely replace card payments for some time. In the meantime, smaller businesses need innovation geared towards their needs, technology that allows them to sell with the hardware they already own.
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