Total System Services Inc. faces "very little direct competition" for the mobile phone card acceptance service it introduced last week, according to Nick Holland, a senior analyst for Aite Group.

TSYS said its MobilePASS service is aimed at such on-the-road merchants as plumbers and pizza delivery people. It would enable them to accept payment cards through smart phones. Merchants download the acceptance application from the processor's Web site and pay a fee to gain the merchant ID needed to accept payments.

Holland said there could be strong demand for the service.

"Small-business owners have a high penetration of smart phones, and they are often out of the office," he said. "This type of solution would be perfect for the tradesman or delivery-based service."

Holland also said that though the major terminal companies, such as Hypercom Corp. and VeriFone Holdings Inc., offer standalone mobile terminals, "they have yet to enter the market with a purely software solution for use on smart phones."

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