If you’ve been in retail for some time, it’s quite likely that your card payment machines have not changed much. Certainly not in their style or form anyway. You may quite possibly be using the same terminal that you were using 5 or even 10 years ago.

If It Aint Broke, Don’t Fix It

There is a strong argument for the above statement.

Understandably, you may feel that the kind of payment terminal that you have always been using doesn’t need to be changed or replaced. Because it works. It always has worked. You do your PCI DSS compliance, you’ve never had a data breach, payments arrive in your account… it does what it’s supposed to do. So why change it?

Because Innovation Brings Benefits

If you’re still using a Nokia 3310, then my argument is likely to fall foul here! But it’s much more likely that you will be using the latest Apple, Samsung or Huawei smartphone.

So, what happened to the all-conquering Nokia? The brand died amongst the mobile using public largely because it failed to innovate. Consumers wanted the best camera, a nice whizzy interface and probably most of all… Apps.

Why? Because apps especially benefited their everyday lives.

The next generation of Smart payment devices has the potential to revolutionise the lives of small retailers and merchants in much the same way. They are very much here and are being embraced by companies like Ingenico, Verifone, PAX , Clover and retailers alike.

So how are such devices different? Largely the fact that they run on an open-source operating system that app developers can develop, well, apps for.

You can probably detect by now where I am going with this.

The Landscape in Summary

UK company Spire were one of the first to come to market with their offering in 2016, sadly their range did not hit the mark in terms of reliability and have rather fallen by the wayside.

The company that really made the first splash was called Clover. Incorporated in 2010, it started selling payment devices in 2014 in the USA.

Their hardware now runs on Android, and the thing that has really fuelled their growth was their decision to allow 3rd party app developers to build apps for their terminals. Apps are available for free or by subscription through a dedicated store, and Clover terminals are available to buy or lease all over the world. The company was acquired by First Data in 2013 who have themselves more recently been bought by Fiserv.

Ingenico has now also followed suit, offering its own range of card payment machines and EPOS systems that run on the Android platform.

But Why Should Merchants Care?

Because as with your first Smartphone, a smart payment device does so much more than your old traditional card payment, or PDQ, machine. For example…

  1. Need to send orders to a screen in the kitchen, or barista area? A smart payment machine can do it.
  2. Need to send the transactions you’ve done on a card to your accounting package, like Xero or QuickBooks, to reconcile quickly and easily? A smart payment machine can do it.
  3. Need to run a loyalty scheme to engage a loyal customer base that is not coming back as regularly as it should? A smart machine can do it.

This is just 3 examples that are currently possible. But in the future, there is also the potential to integrate job management software to smart payment machines.

Up until now, it has largely been hospitality and retail businesses that have benefited by turning card payment machines into mini-EPOS machines. But the opportunity to support tradespeople in their endeavours to work more efficiently and productively, also to collect payment at the point of service delivery, will not go unnoticed for too much longer.

Clover has a dedicated app store so you can quickly and easily download apps onto their devices. Have a look to see if there is an app that could benefit your business by clicking here.

 

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