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BofA first bank to take on Square

13 November 2012  |  8013 views  |  1 Bank of America Logo web screen shot

Bank of America Merchant Services has become the latest in a long line to launch a clone of Square's app and dongle-based system for turning smartphones into card readers.

The BofA and First Data payments joint venture will launch Mobile Pay on Demand early next month, enabling merchants to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards through their iPhone or Android handsets.

The card reader and apps will be free, with users charged a 2.7% transaction fee - the same as PayPal Here and just under Square's 2.75%.

Trevor Rubel, EVP, strategy and emerging products, BofA, told All Things D that while the move was hardly revolutionary - "I hate to come out with a commodity product, but every bank should have one" - the bank has an advantage over its countless rivals in its trusted brand and established merchant relationships.

Merchants who sign up for Mobile Pay on Demand can also access BankAmeriDeals and iDeals Marketing Platform Pro. The two services are designed to connect merchants with new and existing customers through promotional offers, online coupons and deals. The bank says it has served more than 400 million offers since its launch early last year and has signed up 2800 merchants nationwide.

Meanwhile, European counterpart iZettle has moved to fix its problems with Visa in Denmark, Finland and Norway by introducing the workaround already used in the UK. Rather than using the dongle, a text message, with an embedded URL, is sent via the merchant to the purchaser's phone and the card details are entered at a secure Web site. IZettle for Android has also been introduced in these countries.

KeywordsEFTPOS

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 15 November, 2012, 11:01

SQUARE's primary target group is mobile merchants who don't have a merchant account with a bank, probably won't get one even if they applied for it (due to their higher risk profile), and use Square's "master merchant account" in order to accept card payments. Whereas, the target group for BofA's Mobile Pay On Demand is merchants who already have a merchant account with BofA, and within that group, only the ones that wish to accept on-the-go card payments without wanting to fork out monthly rentals for mobilePOS equipment. The two services therefore seem complementary to each other. Unless I'm missing something, it doesn't appear that BofA is taking on Square at all. 

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