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iZettle giving new card reader away for free

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iZettle Lite
iZettle Lite

iZettle, the Swedish mobile payment startup, is offering its new Lite card reader to businesses at no initial charge.

The company is widely seen as the European equivalent of Square, offering a simple low-cost smartphone-operated card payment system to small and independent businesses throughout the continent.

Now the company is embarking on an ambitious expansion plan, which involves giving away its new card reader for free.

The iZettle Lite will be a much simpler device than the company's previous card reader, which remains on sale for £49. Besides the lack of a digital display, the main difference will be that it eschews wireless technology in favour of a physical connection to your smartphone's 3.5mm audio port.

As TechCrunch reports, another important way iZettle is cutting costs is by outsourcing the design of the Lite to a third party. All of this means that iZettle is able to give the Lite away to its customers for free. The company will make its money back on the standard fees it charges on every transaction made with its devices (between 1.5 and 2.75 percent).

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Jacob de Geer, CEO of iZettle, calls this move a "calculated risk" designed to help the company reach a critical mass of users. Last year the company more than doubled its transaction volumes, with annual transaction rates currently at around €2 billion, but clearly there's a massive amount of room for improvement.

The new Lite card reader is currently available to retailers in the U.K., Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

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