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Fiserv’s SpotPay mobile payment solution to go up against Square

Fiserv has released SpotPay, a mobile card reader solution that can attach to any mobile device and enable small merchants to accept card and cheque payments. The vendor is aiming its device at banks who can then offer it to their small business banking clients as a competitive alternative to Square.

The key differentiator of SpotPay, as Fiserv sees it, is that it offers merchants the ability to deposit cheques using the mobile remote deposit capture feature, making it different from the more established Square mobile offering and eBay’s ubiquitous online PayPal offering. A picture can be taken of the front and back of a cheque to enable it to be deposited electronically with a bank. This is a useful feature in the US where cheques and the electronic processing of them is still popular, but is rather less relevant in Europe and elsewhere where cheque usage is falling away in favour of debit cards, if not disappearing altogether.

SpotPay is available to financial institutions that are part of the ACCEL/Exchange payments network. Those financial institutions will be able to offer the solution to their small business and merchant customers as a way to provide them with a secure, convenient and low-cost solution to collect cheque, credit and debit card payments.

"The ability to pay anyone, anytime, anywhere is revolutionising commerce as we know it," said David Keenan, general manager of network solutions, Fiserv. "Financial institutions are an integral part of this revolution, as they are in a unique and trusted position to ensure the safety and security of these transactions. SpotPay is an innovative tool that helps financial institutions participate in anytime, anywhere commerce while deepening their relationships with businesses of all sizes."

According to a March 2012 survey conducted on behalf of Fiserv by Phoenix Marketing International, 30% of surveyed small businesses that have under $1 million in annual sales indicated that they would like to use their smartphone or tablet to receive and process debit or credit card payments from their customers if the service were available. What device they choose to do this with is, of course, another matter.

For financial institutions that belong to the ACCEL/Exchange payments network, adding SpotPay is simple, claims Fiserv as there is no technical or operational integration required – it is simply a plug-in. Bank branding of the white-label solution is also available as part of the offering to promote brand loyalty.

According to the vendor, SpotPay has a rugged design and a long swipe path to reliably read track one, two and three data from cards. It also exceeds the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) by using MagTek's cloud-based gateway and card authentication reader technology, which works with Apple’s iOS operating system and Google Android mobile devices. Transactions are securely processed through WorldPay, the third-largest merchant acquirer in the world, and anti-fraud tools are incorporated into the offering to decline officially regcognised counterfeit cards.

According to Beth Robertson, director of payments research at Javelin Strategy and Research, "SpotPay’s … competitive pricing and features could be strong differentiators in the crowded mobile merchant payment solutions market.” The yet-to-be-announced fees for merchants, mediated via each separate bank, will no doubt decide the success or otherwise of the product, which must now find some bank end users quickly.