First American Payment Systems is bringing another mobile point of sale system into the crowded marketplace of companies seeking small-merchant business.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based payment processor has partnered with London-based Nobly POS to integrate payment processing on an iPad with analytics, inventory management and customer data for merchants in the quick-service industry.

First American will compete against ShopKeep, Square, Revel, GoPago, PayPal and many others trying to win over the small merchants that might be swayed by something simpler and sleeker than a conventional point of sale device.

New entrants to the market enable specialization at the mobile point of sale, said Tim Sloane, director of emerging technologies advisory services for Boston-based Mercator Advisory Group.

"Going into a dry cleaners or liquor store and just saying you have a POS system is not going to work any more," Sloane said. "It needs specialized implementations, and whether it is an Android or iOS tablet, it is relatively easy to integrate third-party apps."

The partnership with Nobly stems from an effort by First American to expand its offerings beyond its own 1stPayPOS system, said John Newton, vice president of sales for First American Payment Systems.

"There is more market than we can support with just one product," Newton said.

Because Nobly has focused on Europe for the past two years, it has experience in accepting EMV chip-card based payments, which will help First American's clients with the U.S. transition to EMV, Newton said. First American and Nobly also plan to add loyalty and coupon offers, pre-ordering and payment, and some options for drive-throughs that include EMV.

The key to penetrating a crowded tablet POS market is to find a niche, Newton said.

"As things shake out, niche products that serve business-to-business, or quick-serve restaurants, or wholesale or liquor stores are going to take hold," he added. "It is going to end up with software companies developing niche products for certain segments."

First American will use its own sales force as well as its more than 100 independent sales organizations and agent partners to distribute the Nobly POS. It is priced at $49 a month, or $29 a month if paid in an annual lump-sum. There is also a $9 a month introductory rate.

Cloud-based payment technology is becoming a game-changer, Mercator's Sloane said.

"Once a smart device is attached to the cloud, it has developers writing very specifically to Android and iOS devices," Sloane said. "This is a trend that will move upmarket because larger merchants will see how easy it is for them and their customers to download third-party apps."

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