RoamPay vs CenPOS mobile payments solution review

This review of ROAMpay X, ROAM Data’s flagship mobile payments product which converts a mobile device into a secure POS terminal,  focuses on key differences between RoamPay and CenPOS, a fast growing payment processing platform.   As a disclosure, your writer can offer most mobile applications to merchants, including RoamPay and CenPOS.

This review targets businesses with revenues from all sources exceeding $1M annually. Typically,

  • The business has ‘interchange plus’ pricing for their merchant account.
  • Mobile is only one method for accepting credit cards throughout the organization.

“ROAM Data, Inc. is the leading global mCommerce platform provider extending both physical Point of Sale (POS) and virtual eCommerce to the mobile environment.”

Key RoamPay mobile solution features:

  • Low cost solution for business to consumer retail sales.
  • Roampay provisions by phone number.
  • Mobile and virtual terminal interface for sales is the same look and feel. Overall functions are nearly identical.
  • To facilitate entering a customer’s address information, there is an optional reverse phone lookup field by entering customers phone number.
  • Optional Roam Offers service allows merchants to push out deals.
  • Stores encrypted transactions on the device when offline. User will be reminded to upload transactions when they can connect and login again.
  • Users can view sales data for 30 days on the mobile device and 90 days on the virtual terminal. Some data may be exported.
  • API’s are available.

“CenPOS is an intelligent payment processing network that streamlines the payment experience for businesses and consumers by using state-of-the-art technology to replace inefficient, outdated payment systems. Our comprehensive and holistic approach to payment processing is easily implemented and scalable to your business.”

Key CenPOS mobile solution features:

  • Most cost efficient solution for larger businesses and business to business. CenPOS technology helps merchants save up to 1.05% per transaction, depending on the card type and other factors – with their existing merchant account.
  • CenPOS has a scalable mobile solution- merchant administrators enable users on the platform via a virtual terminal. There are no per user or per device fees or administration. With custom roles, custom permissions, and infinite controls, the merchant mitigates both internal and external risk.
  • Mobile and virtual terminal interface for sales is the same look and feel, but the platform also includes additional modules and features. CenPOS is a scalable platform with a robust set of tools for varying departmental needs ranging from reconciliation to remote supervisor transaction override to custom reports. User permissions, access and alerts are managed by appropriate administrators.
  • Especially useful for B2B, health membership clubs, and storage companies, customers can swipe their card and store encrypted and tokenized for recurring billing later. Uniquely, CenPOS will represent the initial transaction as retail, and subsequent transactions as card not present, mitigating risk and qualifying transactions for lower interchange rates in some cases.
  • Merchants can choose what data to collect and use for data mining.
  • CenPOS stores data for 7 years.

LOGIC DIFFERENCES: Like most mobile payment apps, CenPOS has a significant operational differences than other applications, such as what happens when you key enter a credit card on a retail merchant account?

I had a very difficult time digging in to the details of what the Roam product line can and cannot do. Either there are many limitations, or the information is simply not shared online.

RoamPay CenPOS Comments
FUNCTION/SCREENS cash, credit, offline sale, void, refund, inquiry, change password TRANSACTIONS:Sale, void, quick return, voice auth, auth, quick force, credit, create token sale, repeat sale, positive card.  Tips and sales tax also shown.REPORTS:reprint, transaction search, cashier report, supervisor approval, transaction locations.


change password, restaurant mode (tax/tip) on or off. Robust reporting with 7 years data stored.

Roampay appears to be a single user single account solution, but if true, I’m sure that will be updated in the near future.CenPOS is a scalable solution with remote deployment. It includes a virtual terminal to manage user permissions- 100% customizeable- and access. CenPOS supports many sales functions any merchant desires, plus offers strict user permission controls, for example, blocking refunds or voids if desired. While CenPOS does not support ‘cash’ today, there are POS solutions with integrated CenPOS that do, including CenPOS POS.

Transactions completed on any mobile device are instantly available on the virtual terminal. Supervisors can override to approve transactions from a mobile device or any computer (authorized).

Payment processing Works with First Data Nashville, Chase Paymentech Tampa, Global East, Sage Payment Solutions . Offline transactions – When cellular signal is not available, transactions can
be stored securely and uploaded at a later time when your network is
Works with all major credit card processors.Does not support store and upload later. All transactions are in real time. User could call office and have a transaction entered via a virtual terminal. RoamPay is a RETAIL solution.CenPOS supports more processors, and more importantly, more transaction types for both retail and card not present.
How to buy
Contact your credit card processor Buy direct or through authorized resellers
Costs Fees are per device- contact your processor. There is usually a set-up, monthly fee, and transaction fee. CenPOS customers get the mobile application free with unlimited users. CenPOS accepts payments via all inputs- brick and mortar, ecommerce, online, mobile, kiosk etc. providing a robust SaaS to help merchants mitigate risk, manage costs, and reduce PCI burden.
HARDWARE RoamPay encrypted reader. Hardware vendor agnostic. Popular choices are IDTech encrypted readers including IDTech Shuttle, IDTech iMag Pro, IDTech UniMag II.  Choose only encrypted magnetic stripe readers for PCI. ID Tech recently added a new product for phone jacks (all Androids use phone jack card reader) that has a rubber piece that helps keep it from slipping. Droid mobile payments users have always lamented the slip problem for all brand readers.CenPOS is compatible with the same hardware that Apple uses in it’s stores for ‘anywhere’ checkout that includes a bar code reader.
Hardware cost Usually included with set up fee ranging from $99 to $249. $35-139, and up to $350 for other  high volume multi-purpose options.  If you have an Apple product, choose a reader that plugs in to the bottom. Users prefer them to reduce retries and for the sturdier feel.
COMPATIBILITY iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, PC/mac. Same solution for devices and computers. iPad, iPhone, Android, iTouch, PC, Mac, and tablets.Features vary by product to take advantage of each devices’ unique attributes.
EXTRAS Roam Pay is owned by ROAM Data, which was acquired by Ingenico in 2012. They’ve announced an NFC solution will launch in mid-2012. Cenpos solutions include Virtual Terminal, Dashboard, Retail signature capture, EBPP, Recurring billing, Online Payments, Kiosk, open source ERP, open source ecommerce integrations. Level II and level III data supported to reduce corporate and p-card processing costs.CenPOS is privately held and has announced support for EMV will be offered. RoamPay is a solid mobile solution with many innovations expected to come.CenPOS is a more robust solution for existing operations that include multiple payment acceptance points, including retail, online, kiosk and mobile. CenPOS is an entire PCI compliant payment solution that can be integrated with your software. Open source shopping carts, ERP, secure online pay pages and more.
roampay mobile card readerRoampay uses the audio jack only. The standard sale screen is ready to go for restaurants.

iphone mobile payment app

idech mobile reader

IDtech imag pro, above, plugs into the power slot on an iPhone. It is shown with an an unknown application screenshot.
CenPOS mobile app screen below. Users only see tabs for functions they have permissions for- this screen shows all available. 

iphone payment

Not shown in image- “positive card”, used for zero dollar authorization to validate a card before storing for later billing.


Comparing CenPOS and RoamPay is like comparing apples and oranges. They are nothing alike, but they both have a place in the mobile payments space and they are both growing fast. As a standalone restaurant application, Roampay is better with it’s tax and tip.  As an integrated solution, CenPOS is better with it’s flexible, scalability.

DISCLAIMER: This review uses publicly available information posted on the competitive product web site as of 7/25/2012. The review does not include the credit card processing, just the mobile application. RoamPay is a registered trademark of ROAM Data, Inc..


RoamPay can only be purchased through your merchant services provider.

CenPOS is sold through direct agents and resellers. Click here to become a CenPOS customer.  Or call the hotline at the top of this web page.

Ho hum Payware Mobile announcement and CenPOS mobile comparison

Breaking down why the Payware announcement at ETA 2012 in Las Vegas left attendees unimpressed.

NEW Complete Solution to Help You Succeed in Mobile Payments

PAYware Mobile’s Secure Audio Reader Launches at ETA 2012

PAYware Mobile’s secure audio reader made its debut at the 2012 ETA Annual Meeting & Expo. PAYware Mobile is VeriFone’s payment solution for smart devices that allows merchants to accept payments wherever and whenever they do business.

With PAYware Mobile’s new secure audio reader, merchants can now swipe a card and capture a signature and email receipts – with security and reliability – so they never have to miss another sales opportunity.

What’s New?

Easily and conveniently accepts credit card and signature based debit card transactions – simply insert audio reader into an audio jack
Perfect for today’s popular smart devices – compatible with iOS, Android and BlackBerry operating systems
Allows account administrators to activate, manage and even deactivate gateway access of devices that are lost or stolen
Saves time and reduces transaction fees with swiped, card present transactions
Eliminates manual entry errors and reduces deposit slips and printed receipts

Let’s also add these excerpts from official 12/2012 Payware sales literature.

  • How is PAYware Mobile different from other solutions out there? …”Merchants trust and rely on VeriFone”…”allow the customer to sign their name on iPhone’s screen”…”integrated capacitive stylus”

Is any of this really ground-breaking different? I think not. I’ll give them credit for their other efforts in retail, however, this is just another ‘me too’ solution. In fact, after the event I attended a conference call in which an executive from a large ISO summed it up by saying, ‘pretty much everyone was offering ME TOO products’. The one exception was, you guessed it, CenPOS.

Keeping on task with the Payware mobile solution comparison, here are some advantages of CenPOS Mobile vs Payware Mobile:

  • Only CenPOS mobile optimizes payments to qualify transactions for lower interchange rates, the bulk of credit card processing fees.
  • Only CenPOS mobile has automated switching for retail/Moto presentment so merchants can mitigate risk of lost disputes.
  • Only CenPOS mobile stores 7 years receipts, including with signature.
  • Only CenPOS mobile enables merchants to securely store payment data for future recurring or repeat sale needs.
  • Only CenPOS mobile supports ‘supervisor approval’ so a remote administrator can override a transaction from another.

Both services offer:

  • Hosted payment processing
  • Remote user management
  • Multi-environment support: CenPOS has one hub for mobile, retail, kiosk, online, ecommerce. I’m not sure how Payware works with that, but they do support multi channel sales.
  • Tablet POS

Beyond Mobile:

GlobalBay, acquired by Verifone offers a wizard driven environment for scripting. I haven’t seen, so cannot comment, but it sounds good. They also offer inventory management, retailing, and a ‘clienteling’ suite for additional fees.

CenPOS offers API’s that can be customized to connect to ERP’s and other back end solutions. Essentially, a merchant can integrate one time, and then apply for any application need.They also offer a free open source POS, ERP, and ecommerce shopping cart.

Groundbreaking: CenPOS supports Level 3 data in both retail and MOTO. It’s not supported on mobile yet.