Apriva, a Scottsdale, Ariz., wireless-payments company, on Sept. 8 announced the release of its AprivaPay wireless point-of-sale application for Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

The application enables mobile merchants to accept credit and debit card payments without the need for a dedicated device. Merchants enter the card's information through the AprivaPay application to complete payment.

Merchants also may choose to use a card-swipe peripheral device that attaches to the phone to get card-present interchange rates on transactions. Merchants must create a merchant account with Apriva before accepting payments with just the application or combined with card-swipe devices.

Apriva's previous version of AprivaPay used a smart phone's Internet browser to conduct transactions.

The new application already had been available on smart phones running on the Microsoft Inc. Windows mobile operating system. Apriva will release an application for phones running the Google Inc. Android operating system in the next month, according to Bill Clark, the company's executive vice president and general manager for North America.

Apriva added the peripheral option because the browser-based version works better for "the occasional merchant," Clark says. Someone who operates a private town-car service needs the ability to swipe a card and print a receipt to give the appearance of a legitimate and professional business, he notes as an example.

Apriva's internal research suggests consumers are uncomfortable with merchants typing card information into a phone, Clark says.

The AprivaPay iPhone application supports the Daily Systems Inc. DS 247i iPhone sled, which is a combination card reader and printer. IDTech also has compatible magnetic stripe card readers.

In July, Apriva announced AT&T Inc.'s sales force would market the application through various methods, such as direct mail, sales campaigns and Web pages.

AT&T will funnel merchant inquiries to Apriva, which is working with Total Merchant Services Inc., a Basalt, Colo.-based independent sales organization, to set up merchant accounts.