August 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

Payments tech vendor turns smartphones into POS terminals

Small merchants, such as a poster seller at a flea market or a hair stylist with a small shop, now have a mobile option to process credit card payments. A new system completes transactions via the mobile web through an iPhone, iPod Touch or T-Mobile G1.

Very small merchants, such as a poster seller at a flea market or concert or a hair stylist with a small shop, now have a new, and mobile, option to process credit card payments. Merchants can use a system from Encore Payment Systems to enter credit card and personal information through a secure mobile web link on an iPhone, iPod Touch or T-Mobile G1 to complete a transaction through payment processor eProcessing Network LLC.

Encore sets up credentials for each merchant that registers its mobile device through the payment technology vendor. All transaction payment data is stored on secure servers through eProcessing Network, not on the mobile device. Merchants connect to their accounts via the mobile web through one of the three mobile devices, either through a Wi-Fi or 3G wireless network. In addition to processing the payment, merchants can connect with the system to access reporting and other information.

“There’s a niche market for this,” says Matt Helms, operations manager. “One of our salespersons lives in Canton, TX, a small town where there’s a monthly flea market event called First Monday. We tried connecting merchants through the standard wireless network, but you have 300,000 people there debilitating the cell phone coverage and merchants had a hard time processing transactions. With this new system, we process through the mobile Internet through a Wi-Fi or 3G wireless data network which are much more reliable.”

The iPhone, iPod Touch, T-Mobile G1 payment system costs $20 to set up and $10 per month. The eProcessing payment processor charges a 5-cent transaction fee.

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