Flat-Fee, Dongle-Free Card Payments Startup Emu Opens For Business In U.K., Registrations In Europe

Square better get a move on launching its first non-U.S. mobile payment service because the market for point-of-sale mobile payments continues to hot up. We’ve been following the fortunes of Square-like competitors such as iZettlemPowa and PayPal’s Here for a while. Now meet the latest addition to the space: Emu — a flat-fee card payment acceptance startup that’s launched its service in the U.K. today, with registrations open to the rest of Europe.

Emu is offering the U.K.’s small businesses fee-less card payments for the first €1,250 ($1,600) of sales — after which it levies a flat per-month fee of €6.50 ($8.40), regardless of how many transactions are processed. Hence its claim of “unlimited free payments at 0% transaction fees”.

Emu says it has its eye on the 20 million European sellers not currently accepting plastic. Its cloud-based software system works across mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets or on desktop PCs — and does not require the use of a plug-in dongle a la Square (et al). Sellers register online and can then start accepting payments on the device of their choice — either by keying in card details (for new customers) or sending the customer a link to make a payment. The payment process for people who have paid via Emu before is “shortcut”, according to Co-Founder James Campbell (his brother Andy is the other Co-Founder), even if they haven’t shopped with that particular merchant before.

To shore up the service, Emu says all data traffic and payments are encrypted — it says it adheres to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards — and adds that no payment information is stored on seller devices.

As well as accepting registrations across Europe, Emu is currently conducting seller trials in France — having trialled the service in the U.K. over the summer. It said it will use registration take-up to determine where to roll out its service next. “Individual countries will be registration driven, yet we expect to enable wider availability during first quarter next year”, Campbell added.

The company was founded in January 2012 and is founder- and angel-funded at this time. It’s not currently releasing customer numbers but Campbell noted: “Registrations exceed our expectations.”

Here’s a short video made by Emu explaining how its service works

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/44308977 w=640&h=450]