Wireless payment system builds on Windows Mobile success

 

Building its mobile payment software on the Windows Mobile operating system may have left manufacturing giants like Nokia out of play, but Mint Wireless is content with servicing what it views as a lion’s share of the smartphone market.

The Sydney-based company has developed a portable payment system that works on Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices. Targeted at a range of mobile businesses, from tradespersons to multinationals with large delivery fleets, the Mint Portable Payment system allows businesses to invoice their clients, process payments, and access a Web-based reporting system while on the road.

Citing a recent Gartner report that expects the mobile payment market to grow 200 percent to 103.9 million users by 2011, Mint Wireless’s marketing director Nigel Turner expects the software to address a gap in the local market for holistic, front-to-back solutions that integrate backend reporting products with software for mobile devices.

The service is offered on a subscription basis. Businesses can expect to pay $49 per month for a single software license, mobile printer for invoices and receipts, online reporting system, and a 45-minute training session over the phone.

While a bulk of its client subscriptions are delivered in partnership with Optus, the Mint Portable Payment system is network agnostic, and works with any data-capable telecommunications network. Each transaction processed using the payment system uses 10kb of bandwidth.

Property consulting firm Independent Property Inspections uses the Mint Portable Payment system to process credit card payments while on the road. According to the company’s director, Michael White, on-site invoicing and the ability to process credit card payments on the spot has reduced administrative issues to do with managing outstanding payments and bad debt.

The mobile payment system also forms one portion of a larger scheme for Independent Property Inspections to decrease, and eventually eliminate, its paper use, White said.

“We have a lot of accounts, and found that we had a lot of outstanding debtors, and were looking for a system that we could use out on the road,” he said.

“We have a plan to become completely paperless within the next 18 months,” he said. “We’ve had a new piece of software written and it does everything – e-mails, generating reports - on-site, so we’re just waiting for the hardware to catch up with us then we won’t need to be in the office at all.”

After considering a number of competing service providers, Independent Property Inspections chose Mint Wireless’s payment system for its convenience and ease of use.

“We used to report on excel, and had no problems at all with Windows Mobile at all; it just worked straight away. There was no transition at all,” he said.

The Mint Portable Payment system works on Windows Mobile as well as Blackberry devices. However, Windows Mobile smartphones currently dominate an estimated 90 percent of the company’s user base.

Turner expects Windows Mobile to appeal to users of the operating system’s desktop and notebook counterpart, which currently has more than a 90 percent share of the enterprise market.

But the company has not turned its back completely on Nokia’s Symbian OS and Mobile Linux. While he was unable to discuss any plans of developing the Mint Portable Payment system on other mobile operating systems, Turner said that the company would respond to any shifts in market demand.

“In terms of devices that are available, we don’t tell our customers which way to go,” he said.

“I think Nokia is on the way into the market, and has some strong offerings coming through, but currently, where we see our user base buying at the moment is Windows Mobile.”

“From our perspective, we’re very happy to have lots of customers on Windows Mobile devices, and that’s worked for us. In future, we’ll have to look at what people want, essentially. If that changes, then we would go to Symbian, but I think most people are happy with Windows PDAs and Blackberrys.”

Wireless payment system builds on Windows Mobile success
 
 
 
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