AT&T Seeks a Piece of the $633B Mobile Payment Pie

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

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