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mPowa Turns Smartphones In Credit Card Machines

David Gilbert


mPowa Turns Smartphones In Credit Card Machines

The mPowa dongle which turns a smartphone into a card payment machine, similar to technology which has been in use in the US for a while now, is coming to the UK this year.

The dongle will connect to your smartphone through the headphone jack and works with a free app available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. The reader is also free though there is a transaction fee of 25p or 0.25 per cent (whichever is the greater amount).


Businesses will be able to SMS or email receipts to customers, track the location of all card payments and cheque transactions and avoid monthly fees or contracts. The reader can read both debit and credit cards. mPowa is rated as PCI tier 1 compliant in terms of security - which puts it at the same level as a bank site. The locations of all transactions are also recorded to help prevent fraud.

The dongle will allow for a more flexible work set-up especially for small businesses and one area where it could come in very handy is for fast food deliveries where you no longer need to call out your card number over the phone.

While NFC is touted as the technology which will eventually replace your wallet, the slow take up of NFC by both smartphone manufacturers and retailers means mPowa could be a successful stopgap for the next few years.

Martin Daler

January 24, 2012, 2:11 am

You say this thing is secure? That looks very much like it reads the magnetic stripe. So as secure as a forged signature and a $5 magnetic card writer. Whatever happened to chip+PIN?


January 24, 2012, 2:20 pm

@Martin Daler - couldn't agree more. Also where are you supposed to sign? No stylus so can't sign on the screen, and no printer to produce a printed docket to sign. So although the connection between the device and the mPowa servers may be ultra secure, the payment system itself isn't. Surely this is a prime candidate for implementation of a chip+PIN solution? A widget attached the iPhone reads the chip, user puts PIN into the associated app, and the app uses the iPhone's data connection to communicate the transaction back to its server, gets an approve code, and bingo bango all done.

David Gilbert

January 24, 2012, 5:47 pm

We've been back in touch with mPowa in relation to the security issue and they've said that there is in fact a signature required at the point of swiping the credit or debit card -either using your finger or a stylus if available. Also the exact time and location of the transaction is logged, so people worried that there card is being used fraudulently can easily check. mPowa is in the process of drafting an official response to the issues raised here and on other sites and we'll bring you the statement when we get it.


January 26, 2013, 9:48 am

Similar to technology which has been in use in the US for a while now, is coming to the UK this year.
Mobile Card

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