Vendors often tout products in press releases and other publicity efforts, but sometimes they keep things relatively low key.

VeriFone Systems Inc., for example, nine months ago launched a two-tier rate plan for its PayWare Mobile point of sale service, with merchants handling more than 1,500 transactions monthly receiving a lower rate. Though the move came not long after VeriFone made a strong push to promote the new service, it notified only product resellers of the pricing change.

The shift was in "response to what we hear from the market," a representative for the San Jose, Calif., terminal maker said in an interview.

The rate change came to light from a promotional e-mail sent Feb. 8 from a point of sale equipment distributor.

Pricing for PayWare Mobile, which includes software for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and other smartphones and a card reader, started when the product rolled out last January with a $15 monthly gateway fee plus 17 cents per transaction in addition to the normal discount rate, which includes interchange and other processing fees.

In the revised system, low-volume merchants with fewer than 1,500 monthly transactions pay a suggested retail rate of 2.75% of the sale plus 15 cents, but no monthly fee. They pay $99 for the accompanying card reader, which continues to sell for $149.95 on Apple's website.

The suggested retail rate for higher-volume merchants is 1.65% plus 20 cents, but with a $19.99 monthly fee, VeriFone said. The card reader is free with a two-year commitment, but there is a $29 activation fee.

VeriFone does not disclose its wholesale pricing, the representative said.

VeriFone's resellers, such as merchant service providers, set their own retail prices. VeriFone does not sell merchant processing accounts.

Competition for merchants using mobile point of sale services has increased. North American Bancard, a Troy, Mich., independent sales organization, on Jan. 28 launched Pay Anywhere, a pay-as-you-go service. And Sage Payment Solutions Inc. this month launched a mobile service that provides small and midsize merchants lacking storefronts with a low-cost option to accept credit and debit cards.

Square Inc., Roam Data Inc. and Ingenico SA are among the other companies with mobile point of sale services.

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