ShopKeep POS designed Surround 360, its iPad point of sale software, to protect independent sales organizations from competitors out to "steal" merchant clients.

Rivals can't secretly take away an ISO's accounts because they can't reprogram ShopKeep software in the same way one could reprogram conventional payments terminals, says Jason Richelson, ShopKeep's CEO. If a retailer wants to reset the terminal to switch ISOs, ShopKeep informs the original acquirer, giving him or her a chance to retain the customer, Richelson says.

Retailers could replace the ShopKeep software with a competing brand while keeping the same tablet, but that would require abandoning the inventory data, customer data and customization, Richelson says.

Surround 360 is a cloud-based iPad POS system. Besides transaction processing, the package provides merchants with reports and remote access, while also offering inventory and personnel functions, Richelson says. More functions are on the way, he notes.

ISOs can white-label the services, meaning that they can brand the offerings with their own names, Richelson says.

Some 600 resellers offer the ShopKeep platform, and more than 6,000 merchants use it, he says.

The software won the Technology Innovator of the Year Award at the recent Electronic Transactions Association annual conference for its advanced use of the iPad and cloud computing.

Using the system costs merchants $49 per month, ShopKeep says in a press release.

Asked if the recently introduced Square Stand, a version of Square's portable card reader designed to house an iPad, will compete directly with ShopKeep, Richelson responds with praise for the stand' looks.

"It's a beautiful stand – there's no denying that," he says.

ShopKeep's software, and its structure that allows merchants to choose their processors, differentiates it from Square, which requires merchants to use Square processing, Richelson says.

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