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Total System Services Inc., or TSYS, today introduced a service that enables merchants to accept card payments via smartphones, Ashim Banerjee, chief information officer for TSYS Acquiring Solutions, tells CardLine. Called "MobilePASS," the service is designed for plumbers, pizza-delivery drivers and other merchants who do not work in offices or stores and who daily accept relatively few transactions, he says. Merchants must download the mobile-payment application from the Columbus, Ga.-based processor's Web site. The download is free, but merchants pay a set-up fee for an application ID and other necessary features. TSYS would not disclose the fee structure because it depends on the optional features a merchant might add and because TSYS will negotiate fees with clients individually or through an acquirer. Merchants who use the service can connect a card reader and thermal printer to the smartphone via a Bluetooth connection, which typically allows up to 30 feet of distance between the phone and other devices, Banerjee says. TSYS designed the service for magnetic stripe cards issued in the United States, though the processor anticipates releasing versions of MobilePASS for other markets, Banerjee says. "We do have in the works a chip-and-PIN/EMV [version]," he says, referring to the antifraud standard for chip cards found in most major countries outside the U.S. "Asia-Pacific in particular" would be the focus of that service, Banerjee says, noting TSYS has no firm date for such a launch. In the U.S., TSYS also hopes to sell the service to what Banerjee calls "consumer merchants," such as those who hold garage sales. Such individuals would rent a merchant ID from TSYS to accept card payments. Consumers could direct those payments to PayPal or similar accounts, Banerjee says, adding acquirers have shown interest in offering accepting  nontraditional payments. TSYS would not predict how many merchants might participate in MobilePASS. The processor plans to sell the service through "acquiring channels at this point," Banerjee says.

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