Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) at its 67th anniversary celebration on Friday, much to our surprise, launched a new kind of mobile EDC (electronic data capture) for credit card payments, which can be used with an iOS device. The m-POS, as it is called, allows merchants to use iOS devices as point of sale terminals as an alternative to the more traditional EDC devices.
The rectangular device plugs in to the bottom of the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and interfaces with the installed companion payment app which will record and process the transaction as the device reads the chip on MasterCard or Visa issued credit card. The card reader does not read magnetic strips and therefore does not accept debit cards, at least not in their respective current forms.
Following a successful transaction, receipts will be emailed or texted directly to the customer’s email address or phone number. The illustration on the advertisement shows a signature being displayed on the iPhone which seems a little odd as it suggests that the system does not use internet banking protocols and procedures to process payment.
Indonesia is known as a country with stringent banking regulations. Foreign financial services, especially non-banks, go under far more scrutiny than the local establishments and this has been the largest reason why we at DailySocial have been very skeptical of companies like Dwolla, PayPal, and Square being able to operate in this country in an official capacity.
The tight restrictions on financial services have also served as major dampeners on the country’s ability to deploy innovative and practical mobile financial services such as those being implemented in Africa. Indonesian mobile network companies have been working to deliver such services to their customers but time and again halted and turned away due to safety and security concerns raised by the country’s financial regulators.
These difficulties make it very challenging for innovation in the financial sector to prosper. One way for this to happen is for the banks to actually take a chance and jump in to the technology sector with an open mind.
Unfortunately recent examples haven’t been so encouraging as shown by how mobile banking apps actually are nothing more than SMS banking interface being disguised as smartphone apps, which is why BNI’s decision to launch an iOS operated mobile EDC is rather surprising.
The m-POS device is not yet available for the public at the moment, having been announced just yesterday. Curiously, there’s no word to the press about it, only an ad placement on the newspaper and a couple of mentions on Twitter.
Whether m-POS will be available to the public or limited to registered commercial merchants is unknown at this point but we won’t be holding our breath. Certain banks demand minimum monthly transactions for merchants or shops to be able to deploy the standard mobile EDC so it’s reasonable to assume that this sort of requirement may apply to the m-POS as well.
BNI m-POS mobile EDC berbasis 3G/Wi-Fi untuk transaksi dengan Kartu Kredit MasterCard dan Visa. pic.twitter.com/tYXhmUZZx5
— BNI (@BNI46) July 5, 2013