Mobile credit reader for iOS devices brings Apple Pay to small retailers

The new tool means people could use Apple Pay instead of cash at their favorite food trucks

Missing from the ranks of businesses that accept Apple Pay are small retailers like food trucks and local coffee shops that may lack the capital to invest in sales terminals for accepting mobile payments.

But a partnership between Apple and credit card processing company North American Bancard could soon bring mobile wallet transactions to neighborhood vendors.

Starting in September, Apple will start selling an updated version of the PayAnywhere mobile credit card reader, developed by North American Bancard. The device plugs into iPhones and iPads and will allow retailers to accept payments made with Apple Pay as well as other mobile wallets that use near field communication (NFC) technology to carry out transactions.

Competing contactless payment systems that use NFC include Android Pay, which is expected to launch soon, and Samsung Pay, which comes to the U.S. on Sept. 28.

The device hasn't been tested with either Android Pay or Samsung Pay yet, but does work with Google Wallet, North American Bancard spokeswoman Nancy Bakanowicz said in an email. The device will be tested with those mobile payment systems soon, but the company couldn't provide a time frame. With the arrival of Android Pay, however, Google Wallet is becoming a money transfer service.

PayAnywhere, which will cost US$39.95, also has a magnetic strip reader, allowing the device to work with traditional credit cards.

The exact date PayAnywhere goes on sale in Apple's retail stores and online wasn't provided. Apple is the exclusive retailer of the newest version of PayAnywhere. Stores that already sell models of PayAnywhere that don't work with Apple Pay will continue to offer those devices, Bakanowicz said.

The model announced Thursday will support the Android smartphone app in about a week and tablets in five to six weeks, Bakanowicz said.The original version of PayAnywhere that lacks Apple Pay support already works with Android smartphones and tablets. 

The device will be sold in the U.S., at least for the immediate future, according to a news release. PayAnywhere didn't mention international merchants.

To accept Apple Pay transactions, retailers need credit card terminals that work with NFC technology. However, the expense of purchasing new systems has soured some stores on accepting mobile payments.

By comparison, mobile credit card readers plug into the headphone jack on smartphones and tablets, effectively turning the device into a cash register. Using mobile devices as point-of-sale systems can potentially offer small and medium-sized businesses an affordable way to accept contactless payments.

PayAnywhere isn't the only device that works with Apple Pay. Square showed off its Apple Pay-compatible mobile credit card reader during Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in June

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