Emerge Mobile, a South African based technology company in the mobile payments space, has announced the commercial launch of its Edge MPOS payment card acceptance solution.

iKhokha, a South African, Cape Town based financial services brand created by Emerge Mobile, is the inaugural go-to-market vehicle for The Edge, which is a secure and compact Chip & PIN card reader that plugs into iOS or Android smartphones, and is coupled with the free iKhokha mobile application.

Following a successful closed pilot with selected merchants, the iKhokha offering is now commercially available throughout South Africa at www.ikhokha.com

In conjunction with the mobile application, The Edge transforms a smartphone into a secure mobile point of sale (MPOS) terminal, enabling merchants to process Chip & PIN and magstripe, debit and credit card payments as well as selected mobile wallet transactions.

The launch follows Emerge Mobile achieving Payments Council International Payment Terminal Security (PCI-PTS), and Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) Level 1 and 2 certifications for the solution earlier this year – an African first.

The Edge is registered with the MasterCard Mobile MPOS Program and the Visa Ready Program, showcasing it to international acquiring banks and creating the potential for it to be embraced by strategic distribution partners and acquiring clients worldwide.

Matt Putman, managing director of Emerge Mobile, says that the launch of iKhokha will give potential acquirers from across Africa and other international markets the opportunity to see the solution active in a real life situation, demonstrating that the company understands the marketing, distribution, merchant support and legislative requirements needed to gain traction in the MPOS sector.

“This commercial launch is a realisation of Emerge Mobile’s vision to create an MPOS solution that will improve the lives of countless SMEs in South Africa,” says Putman. “It also demonstrates that we can provide the technical expertise as well as the in-house design and marketing skills needed to differentiate the offering in the mobile financial services space.”

South African merchants can purchase The Edge online via www.ikhokha.com, where registration is fully automated and available to all businesses irrespective of whom they bank with. Once an application is approved, the device is dispatched via courier, reaching the merchant within five working days. ABSA Bank is the acquiring license provider working with Emerge Mobile in the South Africa market.

The solution costs less than R1 000 (approximately $96) to purchase including free delivery, and gives mobile workers such as taxi drivers, electricians, plumbers and market stall holders the ability to accept cashless payments for the first time, protecting them from the dangers of carrying cash, all at a competitive flat rate of 2,75% per transaction and no monthly fees. Merchants can as an alternative rent the Edge Adapter over a 24 month period.

It also offers business analytics through the phone application, and allows users to send receipts to their card and cash-paying customers, via SMS or e-mail. In addition, The Edge makes it possible for device holders to earn extra income by selling value-added services such as airtime for local mobile network operators.

Emerge Mobile is now aiming to expand into both emerging and developed markets.

“The solution can be white-labelled for an acquiring client’s brand or we can launch a similar brand to iKhokha in other international markets,” says Putman. “We are excited to take on the challenge of local and international growth and are working hard to identify suitable international strategic partners to assist us in rapidly positioning the business as a global force.”