Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Smart Phones Get a Little Smarter-and Payments Get a Little More Mobile

VeriFone, the company that supplies most of the SNAP program EBT-only terminals, will begin next week shipping its latest solution aimed at the growing area of mobile commerce. Called "PAYware Mobile," the solution includes a software application (app) for the wildly popular iPhone and a card reader that slips over the iPhone. The company says the hardware and software are free for merchants who sign up for a PAYware Mobile secure gateway service agreement.

PAYware Mobile essentially turns any iPhone into a card acceptance and signature capture device. It can handle credit and signature debit transactions. The key selling point for PAYware Mobile is that it helps small businesses avoid the "card not present" processing fees for accepting credit cards.

PAYware Mobile is aimed at merchants and sellers who could not previously justify the cost of accepting electronic payments like home repairmen, small cafes or restaurants, door-to-door sellers, route sellers or home "party" sales.

VeriFone's distribution scheme for PAYware Mobile is also interesting. In addition to normal channels like bank acquirers and ISOs, it will be available direct from VeriFone. This is similar to the distribution scheme announced yesterday for the new Google smart phone Nexus One, which will be available initially through mobile carrier T-Mobile, as well as direct through Google.

VeriFone sees a market for PAYware Mobile of "millions of small businesses worldwide," according to a company release.

Should PAYware Mobile eventually be configured to handle PIN debit transactions it might make a natural fit for the burgeoning farmers market EBT program across the U.S.

PAYware Mobile begins shipping January 15, according to a product release. For more information log on to the PAYware mobile site.