The Apple iPhone is set to become a free-standing credit card processing terminal thanks to the emergence of a new wave of applications that make use of Internet payment gateways to process payment transactions.
In the US, Credit Card Terminal, a software widget available through the iPhone AppStore for $49.99, is soon to be joined by a competing application called ProcessAway, which will retail for $19.99.
Both apps rely on the Authorize.net payment gateway in the US to authorise cards presented over the iPhone and iTouch handsets. Transactions can be processed via a wifi connection at places such as conventions, street fairs, antique shows, and by business owners performing mobile detailing, on-site consultation or construction.
Merchants need to set up an account with Authorize.net, which charges $27.50 per month and takes a $0.35 flat fee per transaction. The card companies also take a percentage (between 2.19 and 3.3%), depending on which card is in use.
Credit Card Terminal is supplied by Seattle-based start-up Innerfence which was set up by two former Microsoft staffers. ProcessAway has been developed by Randy Palermo of Rapadev and was submitted to Apple for review on Monday.
In Australia, meanwhile, iCharge for iPhone from Xilo went live on the AppStore in August. The company is currently looking for international partners to take the app into new territories.