Merchants in the British Virgin Islands will soon have a new mobile card reader available to accept card payments through their smartphones.

Charge Anywhere, a South Plainfield, N.J.–based mobile payment hardware and software provider, and telco products provider Tech It Easy Ltd. have agreed to distribute the card reader throughout the British territory in the Caribbean, just east of Puerto Rico.

Distributing the card reader represents an expansion into mobile payment capabilities for Virgin Islands-based Tech It Easy, the companies said in a Jan. 23 press release.

By swiping customers' cards directly through the devices attached to smartphones, merchants are able to accept card payments and process orders, anywhere in real-time, the companies said.

"Our research has revealed that within the British Virgin Islands, merchants are severely restricted in the processing of credit card payments,” Elford Parsons, owner of Tech It Easy, says in the release.

Because credit card validation terminals deployed in the Virgin Islands have traditionally required a land-based telephone line and electrical power to operate, merchants and retailers have been restricted to accepting credit card payments exclusively within their premise, Parsons says. With mobile phone penetration at nearly 100% and smartphone use growing, the Virgin Islands “is primed for the adoption of mobile payments,” he adds.

Tech It Easy says it anticipates local banks will embrace the technology and move swiftly to make the mobile payment options available to their customers.

The system will comply with Payment Card Industry security standards and end-to-end encryption available through ComsGate, which is Charge Anywhere's payment gateway, the companies say.

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