The Square credit card reader for the iPhone has gotten most of the buzz around here, especially after we saw that impressive demo at Macworld a few weeks ago. But VeriFone's competing reader has been given the green light by Apple itself: the unit has been granted a deal for shelf space. VeriFone will be selling its PAYware Mobile units inside Apple's retail stores coming up as soon as the end of March.
I'm not quite sure what the reasoning is behind this one on Apple's side, as the PAYware service seems to be a little more clunky than the Square solution: you have to pay both an activation fee and a monthly fee on top of the per-payment charge that Square asks for, and the reader itself is much bigger, taking up the iPhone's dock rather than just using the headphone port like Square's. Whatever Apple saw in them, you'll be able to get VeriFone's system right along with an iPhone or iPod touch all at the same time..
No matter which system eventually prevails (if indeed anyone needs to prevail at all -- there's certainly more than one credit card company, so there's no reason why there couldn't be more than one payment system on the iPhone), this does seems like a model that will change a lot of business transactions in all sorts of industries. It'll be interesting to see how the curve takes off once these things are up and running.