Last year, Brazilian startup Kinetics unveiled its NearBytes technology, which has now found a commercial application in the form of the Edgepay point of sale (POS) terminal that allows card-free payments of goods and services using a mobile phone.
NearBytes is a sound-based data transfer technology that works by sending encrypted data from one device to another as a sequence of chirps that sound like a cricket. Because the technology relies on a mobile phone's built-in microphone and speaker, no add-ons or internet connection are necessary. All it takes is to place the two systems a few inches from each other.
Edgetech Solutions, a banking solutions company based in the Zimbabwean capital Harare, has leveraged the technology to develop the Edgepay POS terminal, which works in conjunction with an app on the payer's mobile phone. The app is currently available for iOS and Android devices.
When the POS attendant inputs the details of the transaction, the data is then transferred to the customer’s mobile device via the NearBytes technology, from where the details will be on view. The customer then needs to enter a mobile banking PIN on their device to authorize the transaction, before the details are sent back to the POS. From there, a request is sent to the bank for processing and a receipt of confirmation is printed.
The Edgepay POS unit features a microphone and speaker for NearBytes transmission, along with EMV, NFC and a magnetic tape reader for compatibility with cards, such as Europay, Mastercard and Visa. Edgetech says it is targeting its device mainly at banks and financial institutions and has already received interest.
The video below shows Edgepay in action.