Despite many merchants' resistance to the EMV migration in the U.S., the chip-card technology can become more appetizing when it is baked into another item on the terminal maker's menu.
This was part of how Revel Payment Systems landed a deal to provide Cinnabon bakeries with its iPad-based point of sale system.
"We’re definitely seeing an uptick in the number of inquiries from merchants like Cinnabon who are concerned about the migration to EMV compliance," said Chris Ciabarra, co-founder and CTO of Revel Systems. "There’s a lot of confusion out there about both the process and the rollout of the technology among the various stakeholders."
Cinnabon is one of the largest retail wins for Revel, which also recently added Tulley's Coffee and Stanford University as clients.
Now that the card networks' Oct. 1 deadline has come and gone, retailers that cannot accept EMV cards assume the liability for fraud on those cards, and "this could have a huge impact not only on a retailer's bottom line, but also their reputations," Ciabarra said.
The San Francisco-based mobile point of sale provider was the first iPad-based terminals to provide EMV compatibility in the U.S. in 2013, Ciabarra said.
Revel and other providers like it find themselves in a good position to lure more business through the promise of EMV conversion, particularly among small businesses, which "are thinking about chip and mobile technology for the first time in years," said Gil Luria, analyst with Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities.
"It creates a point like a jump ball, where everybody gets to participate and compete," Luria said. "All of the terminal, cash register and point of sale manufacturers are using it as part of their pitch now."
Revel has boosted its technology capabilities in the past year by supporting Apple Pay and launching Revel Ethernet Connect, which provides wired Internet connectivity for businesses that do not want risk losing business when the WiFi signal to their iPad cuts out.
"Overall, mobile payments are becoming easier, faster and more pervasive through mobile wallets like Apple Pay and devices like Apple Watch, as well as other retail technologies like Amazon's Dash Button," Ciabarra said.
Revel and other tablet-based POS providers must be able to handle a growing range of payment options, Wedbush's Luria said. A $200 tablet may be an appealing investment but mobile devices age very quickly; by contrast, major terminal manufacturers like Verifone and Ingenico say their systems will last for at least 10 years, Luria added.
"An iPad itself can't accept EMV cards or do NFC or a QR code, but dedicated equipment to accept payments is becoming a requirement and it will be a new one every couple of years," Luria added.
Revel plans on evolving as technology demands it, such as by offering white-label e-commerce apps as well as a rewards platform that gives merchants multiple options for loyalty programs, from punch-card abilities to multi-rewards programs.
A year ago, Revel landed a $1.2 million grant from Invest Northern Ireland to aid its expansion plans into Europe.