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Fintech startup SantimPay has partnered with Berhan Bank to deploy the first mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) machines accessible to the public in Ethiopia.

The duo is currently deploying 300 of these cost-effective card readers, with some of the first batch distributed among ride-hailing drivers in the capital.

The devices, priced at less than 800 birr, are supported by a merchant mPOS app that enables merchants to efficiently manage the device. These devices establish a connection with smartphones via Bluetooth and are capable of accepting payments from any local debit cards, as well as MasterCard and Visa.

“Users who prefer cashless transactions or lack sufficient cash can make purchases using their debt cards by simply entering their PIN code,” said Abenezer Bekele, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at SantimPay.

Merchants can acquire these machines by opening a bank account at Berhan Bank and presenting their business license, registration, and tax identification number.

The mPOS machines, can be used to accept payments up to 150,000 birr and cleared funds are transferred to the merchant’s Berhan Bank account. While SantimPay applies a transaction fee of one percent, and the cost of the transaction is covered by Berhan Bank.

“The current batch of mPOS devices being distributed only cost around 756 birr, whereas POS machines on the market are priced between 100,000 and 130,000 birr,” Abenezer told Shega.

In addition to the 756 birr mPOS machines, SantimPay states that they offer a range of other mPOS devices with versatile features, including integration with EPR software and the capability to print receipts.

Currently, SantimPay and Arifpay are the primary players in Ethiopia’s payment system ecosystem, working on mPOS solutions.

Aside from its mPOS product, SantimPay has developed an online payment gateway and a Unified Payment Interface (UPI). Just two weeks ago, the startup revealed that its online payment gateway was processing an average of 13 million birr ($240,000) in daily transactions.

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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.