WorldNet TPS last week announced an open-ended agreement with Ingenico SA that France-based Ingenico contends will enable its Northern European customers to lower their payment-gateway costs.

Ireland-based WorldNet already supports major acquirers and processors that operate in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including U.S. Bancorp’s Elavon merchant-services unit, Barclays International and First Data Corp., WorldNet CEO Will Byrne tells PaymentsSource. Because of this support, many of Ingenico’s merchants will be able to switch to WorldNet’s gateway without affecting existing acquiring relationships.

Through WorldNet’s partnership with Ingenico, merchants temporarily may reduce their payment-gateway costs by 50% compared with what they currently pay for three years, Byrne contends. “It’s purely down to an introductory pricing offer to guarantee to reduce the high-volume merchant fees by half,” he says.

In general, typical gateway fees depend a merchant’s transaction volume, “but most merchants most likely will reduce costs from 20 to 25 cents to 10 to 12 cents per transaction,” Byrne estimates.

Gateway fees of 20 cents to 25 cents seems normal for small merchants, Adil Moussa, an analyst with Boston-based Aite Group tells PaymentsSource. And while it makes sense for companies such as WorldNet to want to help reduce fees, it also ends up lowering margins for Ingenico because “the company does not make as much on each transaction,” Moussa says. Plus, “ it forces other players in the market, such as, to also lower prices,” he adds.

The WorldNet technology also supports several card-not-present channels, such as online, mobile-phone and multicurrency payments. Because WorldNet supports a multicurrency channel, merchants can do business within 46 currencies, Byrne says.

Additionally, WorldNet recently developed the iPhone virtual terminal, a downloadable application that enables merchants to receive credit card payments for online goods and services via an iPhone.

WorldNet also is working on a Java-based application for other smartphones, including those made by Sony Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Inc., Byrd says.

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