iKaaz, a Bangalore-based payment company, has developed a new point-of-sale (POS) terminal which will facilitate tap-and-pay transactions through smartphones which are not Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled. The device, known as 'MOWA Wave', will be initially launched in Bangalore for merchants in August and subsequently to other parts of India.
According to company sources, iKaaz will deploy about 3,000 terminals initially, for which it has tied up with super markets and restaurants across Bangalore. Some of the restaurants which are going to use iKaaz's POS include the Empire Group of Hotels, United Restaurants Ltd (US Pizza), Nandhini Group of Hotels, Imperial Restaurants, Donut Baker, Rolls on Wheels, Juice Junction, Chung Wah, Vasudev Adigas and Just Bake. The super market tie-ups include Village Hyper Market, Big Market, Top in Town, Family Mart, Fresh N More Super Markets, MK Ahmeds and City Shoppe.
Speaking to media, iKaaz founder and CEO Soma Sundaram, said that the POS terminal has a keypad, LCD screen and connects through a built-in SIM card or via Wi-Fi for making payments. iKaaz has developed a new protocol which can transform any smartphone into a proximity device to enable tap-and-pay transactions through its MOWA application.
"The device's protocol uses a combination Bluetooth Low Energy technology and a specific sound frequency which will make a handshake with the device and carry out a transaction," Soma Sundaram explained.
MOWA Wave will also support NFC technology and will accept contactless debit and credit cards and NFC enabled phones. Sundaram also said that the device does not need any additional hardware or software and can function as a standalone device and data is transmitted to the company's back-end through the GPRS or WiFi connection. Explaining further, he said that the device is capable of accepting payments from other services such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay via NFC but currently they have not enabled it. At present, iKaaz says the MOWA platform is clocking half a million transactions a month.
Currently ICICI Bank and State Bank of India (SBI) are issuing NFC cards. SBI has said that it will deploy 100,000 terminals in eight cities in the country over the year. Interestingly, ICICI Bank also launched a new service called 'Tap n Pay' which enables near field communications (NFC) payments for users using NFC enabled tag or mobile phone at the merchant's point-of-sale device.
Earlier in May, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removed the mandatory two-factor authentication for transactions below Rs 2,000 using NFC based credit and debit cards across all merchant categories in the country to promote contactless technologies.