The allure of mobile payments, which Generator Research, a United Kingdom-based research firm, estimates will grow to an estimated $600 billion worldwide by 2014, has drawn AT&T Inc. into the fray, as have the merchants accepting payments via their phones. The telecommunication giant announced July 7 it will work with Apriva to sell the wireless-payments company’s AprivaPay and AprivaPay Professional mobile-payment services.

Merchants access AprivaPay via their smart phones’ built-in Web browser. AprivaPay Professional is software designed to work on a variety of phones, such as Windows Mobile devices, Apple Inc.’s iPhone, Research In Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry and those using Google Inc.’s Android system. Only the Windows Mobile version is available now, but Apriva says it expects to launch the iPhone version this month and the others in early August.

Both versions of AprivaPay enable mobile merchants to accept credit and debit card payments without the need for a dedicated device.

The Apriva software is the first “of this kind that AT&T is offering to businesses,” Igor Glubochansky, executive director of mobility marketing for AT&T business solutions, tells ISO&Agent Weekly.

When the two companies previously have worked together–Apriva’s dedicated wireless terminals operate on AT&T’s network–Apriva was the reseller of AT&T’s connectivity. “The model here is different, however. AT&T is reselling Apriva’s [services] that work on mobile devices, including smart phones,” Glubochansky says.

AT&T’s sales force will market Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Apriva’s payment applications through a variety of means, such as direct mail, sales campaigns and Web pages, Glubochansky says.

AT&T will funnel merchant inquiries to Apriva, which is working with Total Merchant Services Inc., a Basalt, Colo.-based independent sales organization, to set up merchant accounts.

Dallas-based AT&T will not receive any recurring per-transaction revenue from Apriva’s software. Instead, merchants will pay AT&T a monthly fee for their wireless data service and monthly fees of $14.95 for AprivaPay and $19.95 for AprivaPay Professional. Merchants also will continue to pay acquirers typical merchant-account fees.

“Merchant fees are set by the acquiring partner and are not significantly different than any other comparable merchant-processing [service], including made-for-purpose terminals,” says Bill Ramsey, Apriva vice president of business development.

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