AT&T offers businesses a smartphone credit-card payment service

Credit and debit cards can be used for payment over smartphone link

AT&T on Wednesday announced a service for small- and medium-size businesses that want to use smartphones to accept credit and debit card transactions from customers. The service is based on technology from payment device manufacturer Apriva of Scottsdale, Ariz.

The service starts at $14.95 a month per smartphone in addition to monthly voice and data costs, according to AT&T's Web site.

Apriva announced the two software products underpinning the AT&T service in January. One, called AprivaPay, is browser-based and allows a business to process a credit or debit card transaction through most mobile phone browsers. A service worker, for example, could take a credit card for payment in the field.

The other product, called AprivaPay Professional, offers more features with software that must be downloaded onto a smartphone. It can be integrated with a credit-card reader device and a device for printing receipts.

Apriva has offered a wide array of mobile payment devices, including the line of VeriFone wireless transaction terminals, for many years.

AT&T is offering the AprivaPay Professional service for download to Windows Mobile devices, although Apriva has said it will eventually support Android, iPhone and BlackBerry versions.

Mobile payments globally reached $68 billion in 2009 and should exceed $600 billion by 2014, according to Generator Research, a firm that AT&T quoted in its statement on the Apriva service. A small percentage of that total market is composed of mobile payments using a credit card over a smartphone. Most mobile payments today are made by SMS , or text, message, and mostly in undeveloped areas of the world, such as the Asia Pacific region and Africa, according to Gartner Inc.

North America is the smallest region in the world to use mobile payment technology, Gartner said.

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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