• BofA comes late to the mPOS party

    Tags: POS

Bank of America Merchant Services, the merchant acquiring arm of BofA, is joining in the mobile point of sale merriment. According to an announcement today, BofA will release Mobile Pay on Demand, an mPOS solution that turns a smartphone into a payment terminal.

And what may be most surprising about BofA's entrance into the mPOS space isn't that the bank is looking to compete with the likes of Square, VeriFone SAIL and PayPal Here, but that it hasn't had a solution until now.

Beginning December 3, Mobile Pay on Demand will let merchants accept credit and debit card payments. The offer will include a mobile app and secure card reader — both free. (Like other mPOS solutions, BofA seems to be differentiating itself through its dongle. Designed with First Data, the Mobile Pay on Demand dongle is relatively distinctive.)

BofA's solution will charge no monthly or annual fees and merchants will pay only 2.7 percent per swiped transaction. (It's slightly higher — 3.5 percent plus $.15 — for keyed transactions using Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards. American Express rates are simply listed as "competitive.") Those rates are lower than Square's rate at 2.75 percent but in line with other solutions that require merchants to sign up for a merchant account with the provider.

"In today's economic environment, small businesses are looking for secure, easy and portable ways to confidently accept payments beyond cash, and promote their business to a broader customer base," said Tom Bell, CEO of Bank of America merchant services. "With Mobile Pay on Demand, we are making it even easier for small business owners to accept secure payments anywhere. The product is fully integrated with existing Bank of America accounts and services, allowing deposits made into a Bank of America small business checking account to be processed as soon as the next business day."

Along with transaction processing, BofA said merchants using Mobile Pay on Demand will also get access to BankAmeriDeals and iDeals Marketing Platform Pro, services that connect merchants with customers through promotional offers, online coupons and deals.

"We believe we can meet the combined merchant needs of accepting payments and marketing to clients," said Bell. "Merchants want simple, holistic, integrated solutions that allow them to better serve their own customers in addition to the secure, fast processing that meets their own business needs."

For more stories on this topic, visit the POS research center.

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