Bank of America Banking on Mobile Payments

Bank of American has has no shortage of troubles in recent years, but the financial titan is looking to new technologies as it embarks on the opportunities on the horizon for 2013.

Bank of America’s newest offering is a mobile payment platform that will challenge the likes of Square. Bank of America’s Merchant Services has formally unveiled Mobile Pay on Demand, which enables small business owners to accept payments from customers over a cellphone.

“I hate to come out with a commodity product, but every bank should have one,” Trevor Rubel, EVP of Strategy and Emerging Products for Bank of America Merchant Services, tells All Things D. And so far, the comparisons to Square are flying left and right.

Bank of America’s nearly identical copycat will be available starting Dec. 3 and will be priced very competitively. The card reader (which is slightly more bulky than Square’s, and is more rectangular) will be free and payments will cost 2.7 percent per swiped transaction. The mobile application, available across both iOS and Android, is also free.

Square, which is already processing $8 billion in payments annually, has a firm lead over Bank of America. But if the bank’s new platform can take even a small share of this burgeoning market, it could be a huge money-maker for the financial institution.