June 13, 2013, 11:35 AM

First Data updates its Pogo mobile POS technology for small merchants

Pogo is an app that works with a card reader that plugs into mobile devices.

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E-commerce payment processing vendor First Data Corp. has released a new version of its Pogo mobile payments tool with features designed specifically to enable small merchants and service providers to accept credit card payments on the go, the vendor says.

Pogo is an app-based technology for Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Android mobile devices. Merchants can apply to use it online and typically receive approval in less than an hour, First Data says. Then the vendor ships them a free card reader that attaches to a mobile device. A merchant can begin accepting payments as soon as it attaches the reader to a smartphone or tablet on which it has downloaded the Pogo app, First Data says.

With a Pogo account, a merchant has access to a web dashboard that allows it to track all its mobile transactions, manage funds alerts and request support. First Data sends daily or monthly transaction reports on request, it says. Pogo also allows users to customize their mobile checkout with images and descriptions of items and their bar codes.

Merchants pay for Pogo only when they take payments. Card-swiped transactions cost 2.69% of the order value plus $0.15 per swipe, and keyed-entry transactions—where the merchant manually enters the credit card numbers, for example when they take an order over the phone—cost 3.69% plus $0.15 per entry, according to First Data. Customers may receive receipts by text or e-mail.  

“First Data is powering universal commerce by providing merchants a full range of solutions that help grow their business—whether today with Pogo as a logical first step, or tomorrow as they move up to a more multifunctional POS solution,” says Bruce Dragt, senior vice president, First Data retail and alliance services. “Many banks and other partners are now incorporating Pogo into their suite of business solutions that they can offer small business customers when they are signing up for new bank services, such as checking accounts.”

Extraco Banks, a small regional bank in central North Texas, has been adding roughly one new Pogo account per day since it began offering it May 2, says senior vice president and treasury management director Cheryl Traudt. The new clients include a startup car-detailing business and the Humane Society of Central Texas, she says. Pogo is convenient for these small businesses because they don’t need to bank with Extraco, or even live in the region, in order to open a Pogo account with the bank—all Extraco does is process the card transactions, she says. Payments deposit directly into the merchant’s bank account, wherever it may be.

Retailers can use Pogo’s web interface to keep track of their inventory and cash transactions, too, if they enter that information manually, Traudt says. She uses the device herself when she sells items on the community classifieds site Craigslist.org and at yard sales. While any consumer can become a micro-merchant in that way, she says the tool is well-suited to those who also need to process card transactions as part of their livelihood, for example a plumber, electrician or craft fair seller.

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