Outfitting merchants and their clients with the ability to accept PIN-debit payments online can yield additional revenue and increased merchant loyalty for independent sales organizations, contends Mitchell Cobrin, chief operating officer of HomeATM ePayment Solutions. Montreal-based HomeATM produces a personal card-swipe device and PIN pad that consumers can plug directly into a computer's USB port and use for PIN-debit payments online. Merchants also can use the device to handle card purchases at brick-and-mortar locations. As margins decrease and competition increases in the payments industry, more ISOs are seeking value-add products and services to earn additional revenue. "We see same-store sales are declining. They're being cannibalized by Web-based transactions," says Cobrin. Selling online PIN-debit capability "will open doors to the ISO community to ensure their longevity and new product innovation," he says. The hardware turns card-not-present interchange rates to cheaper card-present rates for merchants. "The discounted rates and fees are a lot less than credit card transactions, says Hish Derby, director of technologies with Generation Technologies Inc., a Burlington, Mass.-based ISO that sells the HomeATM product under the MiniTeller brand. The "ISO community at large" has expressed interest in selling online PIN-debit capability to merchants and consumers, Cobrin claims. While it may be easy to convince merchants of the benefits of using the online PIN-debit device, consumer adoption of HomeATM's payment device may be difficult to achieve, says Adil Moussa, an analyst at Boston-based Aite Group LLC. He believes consumers may be unwilling to use such a device. "People want easier and simpler things to use," Moussa says. "Asking people to have another device on their desk for their online shopping is not really a way to achieve that." The HomeATM system requires no installation or software. When consumers check out at a participating merchant's Web site, the site prompts them to use the device to swipe their card and enter their PIN to complete a transaction.

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