In the increasingly crowded mobile payment card-reader space, it’s not just technology that’s being cloned. In the scramble to build traction and outrun the pack, startups are borrowing each others’ business strategies too. The latest move comes from Berlin-based mobile payment startup SumUp, which opened for business in August backed by more than $20 million in funding. SumUp has just announced a nationwide partnership with German taxi hailing mobile app, Taxi.de — following a move by rival German mobile payment startup Payleven last month, which signed up a Berlin taxi association to trial its tech.
Taxi.de does not break out user numbers — but its Android app has had between 5,000 and 10,000 installations on Google Play in the past 30 days. It also offers an iOS app.
The partnership between SumUp and Taxi.de is an exclusive one, according to the startup, and should see its mobile payment card reader used by taxi drivers across Germany — assuming it gets widespread adoption from the drivers (who will have to sign up to receive their card reader and start taking payments via SumUp).
The Taxi.de deal is not in fact SumUp’s first taxi-related partnership. It says it has already entered into agreements with “numerous local and regional taxi associations” in Germany. In Berlin, SumUp claims it already reaches more than 300 taxi companies — or more than 10 per cent of all the taxi drivers in the city — versus the around 100 Berlin taxis using Payleven’s system as of last month.
Taxi.de drivers will be provided with the SumUp card reader for free — paying a fixed 2.75% per transaction fee (as with most of these mobile card-reader systems there are no monthly charges or other fees).
SumUp’s card reader accepts Visa, MasterCard and debit card payments. Taxi.de drivers will also be furnished with the SumUp app so they can take payments from walk-in passengers, as well as those who book through Taxi.de’s app (the latter is tied into SumUp’s system via its API). A payment-enabled Taxi.de app will be available in January 2013, according to SumUp.
In a statement Alex von Brandenstein, CEO of Taxi.de, talked up the convenience of SumUp’s mobile payment system, and lauded its “unimpeachable security credentials” as reasons for partnering with this particular m-payments startup.