Electronic payments firm PesaPal Monday launched mobile point of sale devices into the East African market as it targets small businesses that typically find it hard to accept card payments.
PesaPal Sabi, as the mobile point of sale (mPOS) service is called, will be available in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, processing both local currencies and US dollar payments.
This technology allows an android smartphone or tablet to accept Visa or MasterCard payments by linking it up to a small, portable card reader.
mPOS is often seen as the more affordable and convenient way to process payments in comparison to the Points of Sales (POS) that customers may encounter at large supermarket chains or restaurants.
“We’re looking at small businesses. Our target includes people selling clothes at Toi Market; the taxi driver; the salon owner; or even the curio seller,” said PesaPal chief executive Agosta Liko.
PesaPal Sabi is currently only processing Visa and MasterCard payments.
However, Mr Liko said, there are plans to integrate mobile money and American Express payments in the coming weeks.
Sabi has been piloted among 300 businesses in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi over the last four months. PesaPal is not the first company to launch mPOS into the Kenyan market.
In 2014, a number of companies including Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP, tried to woo commuters to use mPOS to pay bus fare.
In February 2016, Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK said it was launching its own mPOS service.
Central Bank of Kenya data shows that there were 34,899 mPOS machines in the Kenyan market in July this year, processing about Sh114.9 billion worth of transactions.
The value of card transactions could be higher if Kenya’s small businesses could process such payments.