18. February 2013–
Since last year, MyTaxi users have paid for their trips smartphone-to-smartphone. Now, the Hamburg-based startup – considered one of Germany's mobile app success stories – is getting involved in the mobile payment business with its own card reader.
In the future, taxi drivers using the service will be able to accept card payments from guests even if they didn't originally book the taxi through MyTaxi. As far as the business model is concerned, nothing has changed: there will be a 2.75 per cent charge, a similar amount to most of the other mobile payment providers.
From March, taxi drivers in Germany, Spain and the US will be able to use the MyTaxi payment solution, which was developed with the payment service Wirecard.
However, on the other side of the Atlantic, the original mobile payment provider Square, who got together with US MyTaxi competitor Taxi Magic and limousine and taxi service Uber, recently had difficulties providing an "all-inclusive" service. In New York, by all accounts one of the world's biggest hotspots for taxi use, Square was forced to give up its pilot project working with taxis due to new legislation last October.
Meanwhile, in Washington, payment competitor VeriFone – which recently expanded to Poland – had to de-install its intelligent taxi meter after there were disagreements with regulators in the capital. Uber has also faced challenges from authorities in New York, Chicago and Washington for its own taxi service and app payment system.
In contrast, MyTaxi's US launch last October was warmly welcomed. It is, though, worth keeping in mind MyTaxi's co-operation with car-sharing service Car2Go, a Daimler-run company that has already won substantial market share in the US.
The winning combination – taxi app + car-sharing + card reader
Bringing both the taxi service and the car-sharing service into one app, plus offering credit card payment, could be the selling point for MyTaxi against competitors on both sides of the Atlantic. Customers who need a car, whether to drive themselves or to be driven, could quickly be hooked on the all-in-one service.
However, considering the challenges of dealing with US authorities and the overall success of limousine and taxi service Uber, MyTaxi's success is by no means guaranteed. It is a market in which competitors are constantly developing and progressing – not to mention that MyTaxi's business model is, at least as far as its cooperation with other companies goes, relatively easy to copy.
In recent months, mobile payment service providers have been actively courting the taxi industry in Germany, which, with the typically large payment amounts from taxi clientele, offers quite promising rewards. Payleven is working to win over the Berlin Taxiverband and last year completed a test run with them; SumUp is cooperating with Taxi.de, a direct competitor to MyTaxi.
What does the future hold for mobile payments and taxi service apps? Overall, here's how the procedure is likely to go: Soon, the driver will put the cost of the trip in their smartphone and and swipe the passenger’s card through the reader. Then the customer will sign with their fingertip, round up the price with a tip and confirm the payment. Need a receipt? It'll be sent via email.
Translated by Michelle Kuepper
Image credit: Flickr user Henrique Vicente
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