11. December 2012–
Taxi wars: As more mobile payment companies target the taxi market, one app maker is making a play the other way
Taxi app company myTaxi is working on a "dongle" card reader for smartphones, similar to those offered by Square in the US and SumUp, Payleven and iZettle in Europe.
MyTaxi, headquartered in Hamburg, provides a taxi ordering app and is active in 30 German cities plus Vienna, Zurich, Warsaw, Barcelona, Madrid and Washington DC. If all goes to plan, the company expects to introduce its new card reader to the "whole myTaxi fleet" of 18,000 cabs early next year, myTaxi spokesperson Lina Wüller confirmed.
The full details aren't yet available, but the plan is to launch the card reader as an extension of myTaxi's existing in-app payment solution. The device was first shown to the market at the Euro Taximesse trade fair in Cologne last month.
Tackling Square, SumUp et al – is there room?
The taxi industry is an obvious place to win traction for new mobile payment solutions. Yesterday, SumUp – which is now active in seven countries across Europe – announced a new partnership with myTaxi rival Taxi.de.
SumUp has previously signed at least four agreements with taxi associations in Germany. The company claimed yesterday to have already reached 300 taxi companies in Berlin – "equivalent to more than 10 per cent of all the taxi drivers in the capital". The new service in partnership with Taxi.de, which will see drivers given free card readers, will become available in January 2013.
Rocket Internet's mobile payments company Payleven signed its own taxi partnership, with Berlin taxi association Taxiverband Berlin Brandenburg (TVB), last month.
Despite the competition, MyTaxi's established reach should give it a good start in Germany. In the US, apart from Square and other general-purpose card reader providers, an important company to keep an eye on will be point-of-sale giant VeriFone Systems.
Verifone inked a US$35m deal to supply "smart meter" card readers to cabs in Washington DC in July. That deal was overturned in November but VeriFone's recent expansion into Poland shows continued ambitions for market leadership in taxi mobile payments.
Image credit: Flickr user zak mc