Payleven ready to ship landmark new chip-and-PIN device – what happens to the old?


Mobile payments company Payleven is ready to ship a new chip-and-PIN device billed as the first of its kind in Europe – and likely to replace its old device in some markets.

Like other similar services in Europe, Payleven – backed by the Samwer brothers’ company builder Rocket Internet – lets merchants accept card payments on the go using their smartphones. Merchants download the free app and order a hardware device; Payleven then charges a 2.75 per cent fee per transaction.


The most notable aspect of the new device – a standalone gadget that connects to iPhone and Android via Bluetooth – is that it is fully compliant with Visa Europe and Mastercard. This is harder than it sounds. iZettle, a Payleven rival based in the UK, had to briefly stop processing Visa card payments last year because it didn’t have a chip-and-PIN solution.

Since then, iZettle and SumUp (which, like Payleven, is based in Berlin) have used a workaround to ensure their chip-and-sign and swipe-and-sign solutions can accept Visa.

Another similar company, mPowa, also offers a chip-and-PIN solution but apparently at a lower level of Visa compliance.

Payleven’s new device follows an older plug-in, swipe-and-sign option. The new device costs about €49 and is so far available in the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, with Brazil expected to follow. It will ship on February 18.

What happens to Payleven’s old device?

It seems likely Payleven’s old product will eventually be phased out in some markets in Europe. While it can still be ordered (for free) on Payleven’s homepages in Germany, Poland and Italy, it doesn’t seem to be an option in the Netherlands and the UK.

Asked whether Payleven would continue manufacturing the old device, spokesman Nils Seger said:

[Payleven has] the clear vision to support all merchants with the best possible solutions in their markets. That means they produce and deliver both solutions to be flexible for everyone. Of course, we see chip-and-pin as the advanced tech solution.”

The old solution may still be the best product for merchants in Europe on a tight budget – or in new markets with different Visa requirements. In August, Payleven co-founder Rafael Ortero said the company aspired to have “global reach going into South America, south-east Asia and Europe”.

Last month, Payleven – founded in March 2012 – secured a “high single-digit” million dollar sum of funding from an unknown new investor, joined by existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Holtzbrinck Ventures, ru-Net and Rocket Internet.


Rocket Internet’s Payleven scores new million dollar funding for further expansion in Europe