Erply takes on Square, Verifone with new mobile payment device

Erply goes after the mobile payments market with a new accessory for iOS devices.

As mobile payments continue to make gains in popularity and availability, this market is getting more crowded with external devices and solutions.

Erply, which specializes in cloud-based point-of-sale solutions for mobile devices as well as desktops and laptops, has unveiled a new mobile credit card reader for handheld mobile devices.

Touted for both small and large businesses, the Erply card reader is designed to support traditional credit card processing as well as near field communications (NFC) technology.

The payment process appears relatively simple: the Erply reader connects to the mobile device and transmits a customer's encrypted credit card data to the Erply point-of-sale software. That data also goes to an inventory management software suite provided by Erply that offers real-time inventory analytics to business owners.

However, the Erply card reader can only be used on iOS-enabled gadgets (sorry, Android and WP7) because it connects to mobile devices using the 30-pin charging port on iPhones and iPads.

At this point, the Erply card reader is only supported on the iPad, which is being seen more often in restaurants and retail locations than other tablets and smartphones these days anyway. However, it will be supported by the iPhone within the next three months.

The Erply mobile credit card reader costs $50 for the device itself, and then there is a 1.9 percent transaction fee per charge. Erply says this is "considerably less" than Square, which is true as they charge 2.75 percent. However, Square is a considerably smaller device that is compatible with both iOS and Android.