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Companies continue to release mobile point-of-sale acceptance services amid few, if any, signs of the trend abating.

The latest include Apriva, which now has a Google Inc. Android version of its AprivaPay mobile POS service for 
smart phones, and Sage Payment Solutions, which announced 
Oct. 18 that it will offer Roam Data Inc.’s mobile POS 
applications to its merchants.

ISOs and acquirers may very well count merchants as willing allies in the push to sell mobile POS acceptance, Richard K. Crone, CEO of Crone Consulting LLC, a San Carlos, Calif.-based firm, told attendees last week at the Western States Acquiring
Association conference in San Diego.

AprivaPay’s availability for smart phones using the Android operating system closely follows Apriva’s September launch of a version for Apple Inc.’s iOS devices, such as the iPhone and iPad.

AprivaPay also is available for the Windows Mobile operating system.

A version for use on Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry devices will be available later this year, an Apriva spokesperson says.

Apriva also has a mobile-Web version that any smart phone can access.

Roam Data’s software can be used with virtually any mobile phone, Sage says. An optional card reader enables card-present transactions.

Merchants using Roam Data’s software also may see their transaction data in Sage Exchange, an integrated payment service Sage developed that enables merchants to combine financial and transaction data.

The Roam Data service will be available beginning Dec. 1, McLean, Va.-based Sage says. The service will cost $25 to set up, $14.95 monthly, 5 cents per transaction plus the merchant’s 
discount rate, Sage says. The discount rate includes interchange and other fees assessed by processors and acquirers.

Payment companies are feverishly developing and launching mobile POS services in hopes of capturing mobile merchants, a potential market that Maynard, Mass.-based payments research and consulting firm Mercator Advisory Group Inc. estimates at 16.6 million merchants.

The great target is capturing a share of the money consumers spend at the point of sale, Crone says. “The biggest opportunity in mobile payments is the $6.2 trillion spent at the point of sale in the United States,” Crone says.

Merchants want mobile POS acceptance because it can help lower their processing costs, increase their promotion capabilities to customers, and enable them to capture consumer data, Crone says.

Many mobile POS applications can capture customer e-mail addresses and other information. But some companies may have an advantage over others.

Direct Merchant Connection

Crone suggests that the wireless telecommunication companies, because they already have possession of a consumer’s mobile identifier—the cellphone number—and a consumer’s payment information, are positioned to “level the playing field entirely.”

AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA are said to be working together on a payments system, along with Discover Financial Services and Barclays PLC. The consortium reportedly plans to test the system in Atlanta and three other U.S. cities.

ISOs and acquirers can have a role in that setting because they have the sales staff that has the direct merchant connection, Crone says.

“This is a greenfield opportunity for ISOs because the people building this need ‘feet on the street’ to build this business,” he says, referring to the payment scheme. “Merchants are ready to hear their story.”

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