Smartphone card payments startup Payleven expands beyond Germany

Payleven wants to enable card payments for small merchants, it said

After six weeks testing its product in the German market, mobile card payments startup Payleven is expanding its business to the U.K., the Netherlands, Brazil and Poland, with more countries following soon, the company announced on Thursday.

Payleven is a payments startup based in Berlin and London that offers a service similar to the U.S. service Square or to iZettle, which operates in Scandinavia and the U.K..

Payleven offers a way to accept mobile card payments as small as ¬1 (US$1.25) on iOS and Android devices using a free app and a free card reader that can be plugged into the device.

Currently, Payleven works with Mastercard and local bank cards in the Netherlands and Germany, said the company in a news release. "Accepting VISA and American Express credit cards will be possible with the launch of Chip & PIN devices in a few weeks," it added.

Backed by German startup incubator Rocket Internet, the company is aiming its technology at small independent businesses that want to try accepting card transactions for the first time. Payleven said it is rapidly approaching round 1,000 partner merchants in its Berlin test market. It employs around 70 people in Germany, the U.K. and other international markets, it said.

Payleven payments are handled over Wi-Fi or 3G and all transmitted data is encrypted, it said. No sensitive data is stored on the device, it added.

Merchants that use Payleven don't have to have a minimum turnover and there is no fixed fee: The user is charged a fee of 2.95 percent of the payment amount, plus ¬0.09 per transaction, said Payleven.

Payleven is currently available in the Netherlands, Germany and Brazil and "available soon" in the U.K., according to the company's website. The company has also launched operations in Poland, it said.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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Loek Essers

IDG News Service

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