Fresh off working with Google Inc. in merchant pilots testing its mobile wallet last year, VeriFone Systems Inc. says it is ready to expand its own wallet-acceptance service and software to all wallet providers, mobile networks and merchants.

The Paymedia Universal Acceptance Platform VeriFone unveiled Feb. 26 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is designed for mobile-network operators to offer merchants a way for their point-of-sale systems to accept digital-wallet applications.

Owners of Near Field Communication smartphones with digital wallets pay by tapping their phone near an NFC-enabled terminal. VeriFone MX800 and MX900 series terminals sold to Tier 1 retailers (annual sales exceeding $1 billion) are ready for the NFC App Manager VeriFone created for the Google Wallet trial. The NFC App Manager is added remotely to POS systems to provide them with NFC acceptance. The addition does not disturb any other apps already on the hardware and thus does not prompt any re-certification.

Once merchants have the NFC add-on, they must select the specific wallet and any value-added applications, such as the Google Offers coupon service, and any loyalty initiatives to download. For the acceptance of the value-added applications, VeriFone designed the Paydocx interface specifications to allow POS systems to understand value-added mobile apps.

The Paymedia platform is agnostic, and VeriFone will market it to mobile-network operators, who will in turn market it to merchants, Marcelo De Lima, VeriFone director of marketing for mobile commerce, tells PaymentsSource.

Though wallet providers and retailers use some of the services included in Paymedia already, VeriFone is negotiating with mobile-network operators on the adoption of the actual Paymedia protocol package, De Lima says.

VeriFone will work with Tier 1 retailers who want to download wallet applications; smaller retailers can get that service from their processors, DeLima says.

Paymedia includes the gateway Paymedia Network Services, Estate Management software and the VeriFone NFC App Manager built into all VeriFone NFC acceptance platforms. In addition, the Paymedia platform provides an open application-programming interface to ensure value-added wallet data not traditionally supported will flow seamlessly through merchant systems without disruption. There are firewalls between payment applications and wallet applications so security is not compromised, De Lima says.

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