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Summary:

For a monthly fee, AT&T can now turn any of its smartphones into mobile payment processors for credit or debit card transactions. Unlike competitors in this space, AT&T’s solution — from Apriva — heavily leverages the browser, allowing for support across multiple devices and platforms.

AT&T today announced a mobile payment processing service for all of the carrier’s smartphones, that enables vendors to take credit and debit card payments on the go. AT&T is working with Apriva, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company that provides point-of-sale transaction technologies for the wireless market, to deliver the service. With the new offering, AT&T is looking to own a small slice of the mobile payment market, estimated to generate more than $633 billion in transactions by 2014.

AT&T’s AprivaPay service starts at $14.95 per month for mobile vendors who want to process payments via a browser. By using a web client, AT&T can offer the service on its entire line of smartphones. Business owners that use a Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 device can opt for the $19.95-a-month AprivaPay Professional, a full, rich client that supports Bluetooth wireless printing and credit card readers. AT&T says that actual card transactions are handled by Total Merchant Services, which charges vendors using AprivaPay its own processing fees as well.

The AprivaPay offering is another method AT&T is using to shed the “dumb pipe” stigma facing wireless providers and to goose revenue. But the carrier faces challengers in an increasingly crowded market — Square launched with an iPhone card reader in May, while VeriFone’s PAYware Mobile reader arrived even earlier this year. Such software and services focus mainly on Apple’s devices. Since not every mobile vendor has embraced the iPhone just yet, AprivaPay gives AT&T a chance to gain payment processing customers — and revenue — on other platforms.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): A Mobile Payments Glossary

  1. Small Business Things Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    As far as I know (and please correct me if I am wrong) Square still hasn’t ship card readers en masse. For all I care – Square isn’t even on the playfield to be a competition.

    1. Last I checked, the Square card readers were indeed held up from mass shipping. Of course, that could change at any time, so I wouldn’t count them out, but you’re point is well taken. Besides if the $633B estimate for mobile transactions comes to pass, there’s plenty of slices to go around, no? ;)

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