CreditCall Ltd. is developing a mobile-payment application to enable merchants to accept secure chip-and-PIN transactions on Blackberry and other smart phones, the United Kingdom-based payment processor announced last week.

CardEase Mobile will be available this fall in the UK and is being tested at several UK-based acquiring banks. It also will be available in the fall in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, Russia and Asia, according to CreditCall.

CardEase Mobile, to be accredited by UK acquiring banks this fall, will support chip-and-PIN, magnetic stripe and card-not-present transactions. The application also will support such functions as end-of-day reporting, refunds and void transactions. CardEase declined to comment on which UK banks but noted the company also is seeking accreditation with Moneris Solutions, a Canada-based bank.

The service will include a separate Bluetooth-linked wireless PIN pad that merchants can pair with a smart phone. The PIN pad will enable merchants to conduct both chip-and-PIN and mag-stripe transactions, a spokesperson from CreditCall tells PaymentsSource. The PIN-pad will be available to purchase from various distributors later this year. CreditCall declined to comment on specific distributors.

The application reads the information from the consumer's PIN entered through the separate PIN pad. The data are then sent encrypted over a wireless network to the merchant's bank for authorization. Merchants also may send customers transaction receipts via e-mail, text message or printed out from an option printer.

To use CardEase, merchants pay a service rate to their acquirer or processor, a distributor fee, an application fee and a fee for the hardware. CreditCall declined to comment on the exact amount of each fee.

 Merchants may purchase the application for a Blackberry phone and eventually other smart phones such as Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Nokia's Symbian, in 2011, the spokesperson says. Once merchants install the application, they must register with CreditCall to have the application connected to a credit card merchant account to enable live transactions.

Merchants also will must set up a credit card merchant account with a bank certified with CreditCall. Merchants that already have an account to accept credit and debit cards do not need to set up an additional credit card merchant account.

CreditCall's CardEase Mobile may be the first application designed for chip-and-PIN transactions, but it is not the first payment application developed for mobile merchants. In fact, mobile merchants and even brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. have available a wide range of similar applications and hardware.

However, there are not many payment applications like CardEase outside the U.S., Adil Moussa, an analyst for Boston-based Aite Group, tells PaymentsSource. "CreditCall is well-positioned in chip-and-PIN acceptance areas to take advantage of merchants who want mobile payment applications," he says.

Though smart-phone applications give merchants an easy way to accept payments, some merchants may have to decide if  "it is worth it to buy all the separate pieces or easier to use a wireless terminal," Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group, a Centennial, Colo.-based consulting firm, tells PaymentsSource. Some mobile merchants may find wireless terminals meet their needs better than mobile applications.