A big development today for iZettle, the “Square of Europe” that wants to become the biggest mobile payment platform in the region. It is now extending its dongle-based service Android devices, to add to a service that already works with the iOS-based iPhone and iPad. The company tells me that the first step is a test phase on select Samsung devices in its home market of Sweden, “but our ambition is to make iZettle available to Android users across all markets where iZettle operates.” iZettle says that in launching on Android, it will become the first company to provide a mini chip-card dongle for Android devices, the prevalent smartphone OS platform, installed on some 60 percent of all devices.
iZettle’s service is currently testing on Samsung Galaxy S II, SIII and Galaxy Note devices, and comes just one month after the company announced $31.4 million in Series B funding as well as the launch of an API that lets third-party developers embed the iZettle payments service into their own apps.
As part of the test phase, the company is distributing 500 chip-card-reading dongles free to interested Samsung owners in Sweden. The app is free to download from Samsung Apps (not the Google play store).
Coming to Android is “the start of something very, very big” for iZettle, co-founder and CEO Jacob de Geer noted in a statement. IDC says that Android is now on 60 percent of all smartphones worldwide, and it will continue to be the most dominant platform until 2016. Samsung is playing a very big part in that. Just yesterday, the company noted that it had sold 10 million Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones in the two months since launch.
Is this a signal for further platforms to be added? Not necessarily, says the company. “We prioritise the platforms after market demand. No plans for Windows yet, but will keep you posted,” a spokesperson told me.
So far, iZettle is being used by 50,000 merchants across Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. It is also being tested in the UK and slated for a commercial release in the country in the “near future.”
Although iZettle’s service will work just as it does on iOS devices, there is one distinction: it will plug into the handset’s audio jack, rather than on the charging dock, as it does on iOS devices.
Unlike other dongle-based mobile payment services like Square and PayPal’s Here which use a card’s swipe strip for processing, iZettle has focused on chip-based transactions, with each transaction on MasterCard, Visa and Diners Club charged a flat 2.75% commission (3.75% for AmEx except in the UK, where it’s a 2.95% commission).
The focus on chips is because these are now ubiquitous in Europe and are considered more tamper-proof than the strips. Speaking to me in June around the company’s big funding round, De Geer told me he thought that the focus on chips would help the company bring on both more merchants and consumers to the service as it looks to take its offering mass market. “Security comes built into that,” he says.