It may not be funded by the Berlusconis, but myTaxi still fancies its chances in the mobile payment device space. The cab-booking app will launch the myTaxi Cardreader in March to enable drivers to accept payment from passengers without having to deal with cash – whether or not the ride was booked using the platform.
The Hamburg-based startup is stepping into the middle of a vicious fight around mobile point of sale (MPOS), with payleven, SumUp, iZettle and Adyen all looking to the example set by Square in the US and battling it out for market share. Payleven in particular is a rival for myTaxi after it launched a partnership with the Taxiverband Berlin last year to provide a similar service to the Cardreader.
And so the move has hardly come as a surprise, especially after myTaxi launched a smartphone-to-smartphone payment solution last year. The new device will work on the same business model – a simple 2.75 percent charge, identical to most other mobile payment device platforms – and will at first accept MasterCard and debit cards.
Adding the world’s biggest credit card brand, Visa, to the system may be tricky as it requires the extra security of Chip&PIN. Currently, the driver enters the fare and swipes the card before the passenger inputs a tip and signs on the display. The data exchange with the banks is handled by Wirecard.
But with access to 20,000 cabs, myTaxi will look to exploit its market share advantage. It would be the first to focus MPOS efforts on a very specific segment, although there is no reason why it couldn’t be expanded at a later date.
Several thousand drivers have already pre-registered for the Cardreader, which will be launched simultaneously in Germany, Spain and the US, with other countries to follow. MyTaxi CMO Sven Kuelper said: “With the myTaxi Cardreader, we are offering the taxi industry a transparent all-in-one solution.”
A product of Intelligent Apps, myTaxi was founded in 2009 and was voted App of the Year for 2012 by the App Store. But it is facing increased competition not only from other cab apps like Hailo, taxi.eu and BetterTaxi, but also from high-end startup Uber. The San Francisco-based company has recently launched in Berlin and refused to rule out expanding into the traditional taxi market.