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Nokia approves Charge Anywhere contactless-payments technology

Merchants can now accept contactless payment by tapping a customer’s near field communication-enabled credit or debit card against the retailer’s Nokia phone.

Charge Anywhere LLC has enabled NFC for credit and debit card processing on its PA DSS mobile payment software, letting merchants with the company’s software to accept payment from a NFC card with their mobile phones. The new services were introduced yesterday at a joint presentation with Nokia at the Electronic Transaction Association Strategic Leadership Forum in New York.

“The strategy is to deliver a PCI-compliant app so banks and credit-card providers can process and have access to payments,” said Paul Sabella, president/CEO of Charge Anywhere, South Plainfield, NJ. “Nokia participation allowed us to develop the technology.”

Charge Anywhere is a provider of point-of-sale electronic payment services.

Mr. Sabella said that contactless mobile payments are still in the early-adoption stages, but gaining momentum.

This is a big step in enabling widespread NFC payments in the United States. However, Mr. Sabella said that there are some obstacles still left to overcome.

For example, more handset manufacturers need to come to market with mobile devices that can use NFC to perform contactless payments.

“I think Nokia is leading the way as the only commercial phone-maker promoting NFC, and as a worldwide leader, other phone manufacturers need to follow their lead,” Mr. Sabella said.

More work at the bank and payment-processor level needs to be done to enable a commercial roll-out of handsets with NFC chips in the U.S. market, according to Charge Anywhere.

The Charge Anywhere mobile payments technology lets merchants accept NFC payments using their Nokia mobile device as a payment terminal.

Earlier this week, AT&T Wireless certified Charge Anywhere’s mobile payment services for a range of BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and J2ME (Java) mobile phones.

Using Charge Anywhere’s PA DSS software and PCI DSS Level 1 certified payment gateway, merchants can process electronic payments on their AT&T phones with the bank-card processor of their choice (see story).

Mr. Sabella said that the new software enabling merchants to accept NFC payments on mobile devices will speed up the point of sale.

“It’s a line-busting technique,” Mr. Sabella said. “Merchants can pull people off line in periods of high sales volume, like the holiday shopping season coming up, and just take the NFC contactless payment.

“A lot of challenges are now gone with our software that has been enabled to accept NFC payments,” he said. “Merchants can very securely accept contactless payments from a card and get approvals just like you are swiping at a cash register, except there are no bonds.

“The chain has been broken.”