HomeATM ePayment Solutions said it is finally gaining traction in the marketplace for its home card reader — because of the popularity of a reader made by Square Inc. and a coming reduction in debit card interchange fees.
Mitchell Cobrin took over as the president and chief executive of the Montreal company at about the same time Twitter Inc. co-founder Jack Dorsey was introducing Square, a small card reader that attaches to smartphones, to the masses. And HomeATM was just starting to reinvent its business model.
"We look at Square as healthy market awareness" of mobile card acceptance, Cobrin said. "They created attention to a market that's emerging."
HomeATM has no plans to abandon enabling PIN debit transactions at home with its personal card swipe device and PIN pad, the Rover. The company is also promoting an "anywhere commerce" model suitable for merchants with "line-busting," or nontraditional checkout systems and also for mobile merchants such as repairmen and taxi drivers who would use the device with a mobile phone, laptop or Apple Inc.'s iPad to conduct transactions.
CardinalCommerce Corp., a Mentor, Ohio, payment security company, on Feb. 15 signed a partnership with HomeATM to include the Rover as part of its Centinel service, which enables merchants to accept payment authentication programs and alternative payment brands independent of online payment gateways, shopping cart software and processors.
Merchants that decide to accept Internet PIN debit transactions using HomeATM's Rover could distribute the device free to consumers, Michael Keresman, CardinalCommerce's CEO, said in an interview.
HomeATM also is approaching merchants directly, Cobrin said. A national retailer, which he would not name, plans to deploy the Rover next month for merchants with line-busting environments.
"That retailer was pretty innovative in its ideas with line-busting, PIN-debit, tablets and PCs and mobile phones," Cobrin said.
Paul Turgeon, the president of Payments and Processing Consultants Inc., said HomeATM's device is well suited for line-busting situations and for mobile merchants in general. "There are lots of those kind of merchants who are spending a lot of money equipping themselves to take credit cards," he said last year.
Cobrin said the Federal Reserve Board's proposed debit interchange cap "makes it a very interesting opportunity for retailers to take a clear and honest look at their PIN-debit strategy for the Web … a solution that could provide superior rates because of its superior security is really going to be grabbing attention right now."
Mobile merchants would get significant savings using the Rover instead of other mobile acceptance devices, Cobrin said. For example, a plumber who provides services for between $200 and $300 during each visit would potentially pay 12 cents on that transaction compared with higher credit card rates.
"That's a significant return on investment" for Rover users, Cobrin said.