The Russian company LifePay, a Life.SREDA portfolio company, is the first in the country to begin distributing card readers allowing users to make payments via smartphones, from their EMV-chip cards. The investment in developing this line of technology and transferring customers to the new card readers will total over $1 million.
LifePay is a card reader and mobile application which enables the customer to turn their iOS/Android/WindowsPhone smartphone into a card terminal. LifePay are now ready to distribute the new mobile terminals, which are designed with a device for reading chip cards, to a pilot group. The terminals were developed by Miura Systems and Dspread Technology, both leading providers of finance technology, and have received certification from EMVCo. The new card readers can also take payments from non-chipped cards with magnetic strips.
The transfer to this new technology will make transactions significantly easier for LifePay customers, and will also provide greater security when making payments, EMV being an international standard in the security of bank card operations. LifePay plan to bring all of their existing customers across to the new card readers over the course of this year, which means that by the end of 2014 up to 250,000 new devices will have been issued.
In the summer of 2012 the Central Bank of Russia announced their intention to force all commercial banks to switch to using chip cards. At the moment they make up about 30% of the total number of bank cards in use in Russia.
The LifePay card readers are free, but the company receives a 2.7% commission for each transaction. At the moment LifePay have more than 6,000 official clients (not including individuals). They aim to increase to 100,000 by the end of 2014.