December 3, 2012, 11:27 AM

Payment firm Adyen debuts a mobile checkout service

A web ticketer will use the service to sell tickets at the door of events.

Lead Photo

The card reader's portability enables consumers to make payments without standing in cash register lines.

Europe-based ticketer Ticketscript made its name selling event tickets online, and it could be about to repeat some of that success with card-present transactions as it tests a new mobile checkout system from payment processor Adyen BV. A card-present transaction is one in which a credit card is physically used at the point of sale, unlike a transaction made on an e-commerce site.

Dubbed the Shuttle, the Adyen service is aimed at consumers whose payment cards require cardholders to input a personal identification number to complete a transaction. A consumer inserts the card into the wireless Shuttle reader and taps in a PIN that the card’s chip then verifies. The Shuttle card reader connects via Bluetooth to an Adyen app on a smartphone or tablet PC using iOS or Android. It is available only in Europe at this time, Adyen says. European credit and debit cards all contain a computer chip that stores and verifies information, including the consumer’s PIN.

The service, which works with credit and debit cards, can e-mail receipts to consumers. The Shuttle reader also includes a magnetic stripe reader for payment cards without chips.

Ticketscript, which is based in the Netherlands, works with venue operators throughout Europe that license its ticketing service to sell their own tickets. Ticketscript makes money from a booking fee charged to consumers. CEO Frans Jonkers says Ticketscript sold 70 million euros ($91 million) in tickets this year.

“Traditionally it was physical merchants who set up an e-commerce presence to extend their businesses online,” says Roelant Prins, Adyen chief commerce officer. “With Shuttle, we're doing just the opposite. Shuttle enables online merchants like Ticketscript to extend their businesses into the physical world.”

The mobile Shuttle service will enable Ticketscript clients to sell tickets at the door, when a consumer shows up at an event without having bought an online ticket, says Jonker. Shuttle enables Ticketscript to get into physical payments and sales, he says. Jonker will test the service next spring as the festival season starts.

Other retailers testing Shuttle are Gidsy.com, a travel site, and De Bijenkorf, a luxury department store chain in the Netherlands. Organizers of Gidsy travel events will test it for face-to-face payments. De Bijenkorf will test it for in-store payments. All three retailers use Adyen’s e-commerce payment processing services.

Devices like the Shuttle harken to the changing nature of retail, says Alex Kwiatkowski, research manager at consulting firm IDC Financial Insights. Many retailers are adopting mobile checkout systems to avoid the prospect of losing the sale while a consumer stands in a cash register checkout line, he says.

Apple Inc. may be best known for using mobile checkout systems in its bricks-and-mortar stores. There, the salesperson who helps the consumer select a product also can take the payment using an Apple device.

While at first glance, the Shuttle may be similar in concept to Square Inc.’s mobile checkout service, its ability to accept chip-and-PIN, also known as EMV, cards is unique. “EMV is the de facto standard in Europe,” Kwiatkowski says. Square only accepts cards with mag stripes, the standard technology used on U.S. payment cards.

“For Europe, it is necessary to use this technology,” says Ticketscript’s Jonker.

The Shuttle costs 99 euros ($128.80) to purchase and carries a 10 euro ($13.01) monthly fee. A transaction fee for a debit transaction is the cost of interchange plus 0.06 euro cents and interchange plus 0.60% for credit card payment. In Germany, for example, a Visa credit card transaction has a 1.15% fee, while a MasterCard debit transaction fee is 0.35 euro cents.

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