1st National Processing lets merchants process credit card payments via mobile
The Mobile Merchant Pro debut includes services for the iPhone and iPod touch in addition to a free BlackBerry mobile payment application. Mobile Merchant Pro is a point-of-sale application that lets mobile merchants process credit cards in real-time on their mobile phones.
Mobile Commerce Daily’s Chris Harnick interviewed Tim Sweezey, vice president and Mobile Merchant Pro product manager at Artisans Media Group, LLC, which is the PR and developer agency for 1st National Processing. Here is what he said:
What is the strategy here?
Our launch strategy really couldn’t be simpler.
We are offering free mobile phone credit card processing solutions with a better associated value than any other provider.
We offered a sneak-peek to our customers and affiliate partners prior to our official release, and we couldn’t be happier with the reception and momentum of Mobile Merchant Pro.
From here, we trust the success is largely going to be by word of mouth, although we will do some promotion when the Android and Palm Pre versions are released.
I think the success of the free BlackBerry version is a testimonial regarding the viral potential we have with these products.
What challenges does this address?
Merchant’s call us at such a point as they get tired of saying “I’m sorry, we don’t accept credit cards.”
It’s our responsibility to meet the challenge regardless of the type of business they manage or their environment.
Mobile credit card processing comes with its own unique challenges depending on the type of business.
You certainly have terrific wireless options available for CDMA or GPRS networks, but the cost can be prohibitive for some, as can the size of the units.
For those who want real-time approvals, outstanding coverage, without having to carry anything else than you would normally, mobile phone credit card processing has some terrific advantages.
What is the target demographic for this new service?
As for our demographic, it applies to anyone who needs to accept credit cards remotely.
That can be taxi drivers, photographers, landscapers, plumbers, locksmiths, consultants and arts and crafts vendors. If there was really a defining factor here, it would likely apply to the mobile merchants who prefer not to carry additional equipment with them.
Why was this service implemented for mobile phones?
The introduction of 1st National Processing’s mobile phone credit card processing solutions was motivated largely by our own customer base.
A substantial part of our business is supporting the credit card processing needs for mobile merchants, from livery drivers, photographers, landscapers, to the arts and crafts community which we’ve been serving proudly for over 20 years.
Following our customers lead, we decided to create a suite of applications that could empower each to process credit cards anywhere where cell service was available.
Many of our customers are seasonal merchants so it was important that we addressed functionality, as well as the cost associated.
When we began researching the landscape of current mobile phone credit card processing applications, we found two basic categories of offerings: There were those applications for various mobile phone platforms that ranged upwards of $30-$50, and supported standard payment gateways such as Authorize.Net or PayPal Web Payments Pro.
The other category of applications was free, but the catch was you couldn’t use your existing Merchant Account Provider, or a standard payment processing gateway.
Rather, you had to use their proprietary gateway, and while they claimed it was free, you’d still end up paying a $50 setup fee. We were confident we could provide a better value.
We started with our iPhone version, that we offer at $19.99 or complimentary with a 1st National Processing Merchant Account, with the Authorize.Net startup fee waived.
Now were toying around with completely free applications as demonstrated by Mobile Merchant Pro for the BlackBerry, with Android and Palm Pre coming soon.
For those who already use either Authorize.Net or PayPal Web Payments Pro, they don’t need anything else.
They can literally start charging credit cards on their BlackBerry in moments. As far as I know, we are the first to provide such a value.
Who benefits from these mobile point of sale services and why?
The benefits associated with mobile point-of-sale devices are really in regard to merchant empowerment.
These applications are easy to use and a snap to setup.
As mentioned previously, for those that already use a payment processor such as Authorize.Net or PayPal Web Payments Pro, they can begin to use Mobile Merchant Pro solutions in minutes.
For those that don’t already accept credit cards, or need a payment gateway, we can help with that as well. I’m looking forward to our free releases of Mobile Merchant Pro for the Android and Palm Pre platforms, and the benefit our applications provide to Mobile Merchants who use these devices.