South African bank Absa and payment innovations company Thumbzup have signed an agreement to launch a mobile payment device, Payment Pebble, which will enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to accept debit or credit card payments through smartphones or tablets.
Payments will be made through a world first, plug-in device called "The Absa Payment Pebble", the bank said in a statement last week.
"The Absa Payment Pebble" is a small card-reader device that can be plugged into the audio input on any mobile smartphone or tablet and used along with a mobile application.
The Absa Payment Pebble is scheduled to be available as a value-added service from Absa from early 2013.
Once the mobile app has been downloaded and the entrepreneur or business has registered for the service and received a pre-configured device, payments can be made via debit or credit card.
"One of the key differentiating features of the technology is its ability to enable safe and secure payment acceptance as a pin entry device, for both chip and magnetic swipe strip cards," Absa said.
"The Absa Payment Pebble is also extremely simple to use because it seamlessly interacts with any smartphone without the hassle of complex synchronisation or power supply concerns."
No other mobile acceptance device allows merchants to process payments remotely with a plug-in device, said Absa head of retail markets, Arrie Rautenbach.
"It is a game-changing innovation with the potential to transform the way in which entrepreneurs can safely accept offsite payments."
He also said the deal with Thumbzup offered the potential of expanding into other African countries through Absa's parent company, Barclays.
"We have a strong global commitment to innovation," he said.
"As the Absa payment technology landscape changes, Absa is focused on delivering pioneering solutions to fundamentally transform the customer experience and build strong foundations for growth."