iKaaz Mowa

Payments company iKaaz has developed a new point-of-sale terminal which will allow tap-and-pay transactions through smartphones which are not Near field communications (NFC) enabled. The device called MOWA Wave is will available for merchants in Bangalore and is expected to be rolled out in August.

iKaaz says that it will deploy about 3,000 terminals initially, for which it has tied up with restaurants and super markets across Bangalore. Some of the restaurants include the Empire Group of Hotels, Nandhini Group of Hotels, United Restaurants Ltd (US Pizza), Donut Baker, Rolls on Wheels, Imperial Restaurants, Just Bake, Juice Junction, Chung Wah and Vasudev Adigas. The super market tie-ups include Village Hyper Market, Top in Town, Big Market, Family Mart, City Shoppe, Fresh N More Super Markets and MK Ahmeds.

How it works

Speaking to MediaNama, iKaaz founder and CEO Soma Sundaram said that the POS terminal comprises a keypad, LCD screen and connects using a built-in SIM card or through 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. Sunadram 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.

NFC cards and payments by banks 

Currently there are only two banks which issue NFC cards, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India (SBI).  SBI has said that it will deploy 100,000 terminals in eight cities in the country over the year. SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya also added that the bank will be converting all cards of existing customers to contactless cards, and all cards issued after September 1 will be NFC enabled.

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.

Other moves by iKaaz
Earlier in 2013, iKaaz had also launched a mobile POS Tap & Pay reader that works on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable cashless transactions.

iKaaz had also partnered with DCB Bank to bring out the a mobile payments wallet. Note iKaaz does not have have a prepaid payments instrument (PPI) licences from the Reserve Bank of India to run a digital wallet. However, through their partnerships with a commercial bank, they were able to get the necessary regulatory approvals to operate one. The connection with banks also allows the payment companies to store the funds in an escrow account with the bank which can be moved to different merchants’ and beneficiaries’ bank accounts.