BServ Inc., which offers a range of wire transfer and online transaction services, is expanding into the mobile payment market.

The privately held San Francisco company, which does business as BankServ, said Monday that it has acquired the assets of Commerciant LP, a Houston developer of a handheld card acceptance device and processing technology.

The price was not disclosed.

David F. Kvederis, BServ's president and chief executive, said it handles credit card and automated clearing house payments for 3,300 biller-direct Internet bill payment clients, along with remote deposit transactions for 25,000 users of its DepositNow imaging technology.

"The one thing we were missing was the physical-world credit card piece," Kvederis said. "Commerciant helps us fill in that gap."

The vendor plans to target small-business owners who are often on the go, such as plumbers and tow truck drivers.

Commerciant's Mobilescape device — which includes a card reader, an integrated receipt printer and a slot that can read a check's magnetic ink recognition line and convert the payment to an ACH transaction at the point of purchase — uses wireless phone networks for processing and has about 6,000 users, he said.

Most of them are independent business people, but the users include a restaurant, which uses the device for curbside pickups, and an airline, which uses the device for card purchases of in-flight food and drinks, he said. (The device stores transaction data for downloading after landing.)

BServ plans to integrate Mobilescape with the BankServ DepositNow service and to offer remote capture to Commerciant's ISO clients, Kvederis said. "We think there's a natural cross-sell here."

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