Already a number of smartphone applications enable consumers to use their phones to make purchases, charging them to their debit or credit cards. Today AT&T introduced a new service to merchants that turns their smartphones into payment terminals.
AT&T introduced the AprivaPay and AprivaPay Professional services to its business customers. The service is provided by Apriva, a company that serves the wireless payment industry. AT&T is the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer the Apriva system.
The way it works, a mobile merchant -- think floral delivery, a plumbing contractor, a tow truck driver -- who does their work in the field can use their smartphone as their point-of-sale terminal, processing credit or debit card transactions without the need to carry another device around for processing payments.
AprivaPay works on any smartphone using AT&T service for $14.95 a month. It works through the phone’s web browser. AprivaPay Professional is installed to run directly on the phone, but is only for smartphones running the Windows Mobile Standard and Professional OSes for $19.95 a month. Either service requires a separate merchant agreement with AT&T.
The worldwide mobile payments market is expected to grow from $68 billion in 2009 to more than $600 billion by 2014, AT&T said, citing a forecast from Generator Research, an independent market research firm. That is fast.
"Sales increase when small businesses accept payment cards," said Michael Antieri, president of advanced enterprise mobility solutions at AT&T Business Solutions, in a prepared statement.
And since many mobile merchants likely carry a smartphone on them for other business operations, this is another use to which they can be put.
Here’s a video demo of how Apriva Pay works.