We’re on the verge of seeing a massive rollout of mobile payment and commerce solutions, but most involve a consumer-initiated experience. Cimbal, a new Sunnyvale-based startup, is taking the same concept but doing things a bit different.
The whole idea behind Cimbal is to take point-of-sale barcodes and allow merchants to generate and utilize them instead of relying on the consumer. Traditionally, consumers are the ones that carry around barcodes on their devices, with the merchant scanning them at the POS. With Cimbal’s solution, the barcode is generated at the POS, and the consumer then scans the barcode with their device to pay for their items.
The same concept works with person-to-person mobile payments as well. One person can generate a barcode from their device, allow another person to scan the barcode with their device and a mobile payment is made immediately without transferring or exposing any sensitive data.
The solution is extremely simple to setup; a user creates their account, sets up a PIN to protect things and connects their bank account information. From there, the user can start generating barcodes. Each barcode you create represents a single transaction, that can be repeated multiple times. If someone is soliciting donations, for example, the user can generate one barcode that represents a $10 payment and allow as many people as they choose to scan it and donate instantly.
I like this solution over others simply because of its ease of use from a consumer perspective. Unlike Square and some others that require an add-on device to take payments, Cimbal requires nothing more than creating an account. It all works using barcodes and the camera found on nearly every phone made. From a consumer adoption standpoint, this gives Cimbal an extreme advantage.