The rapid pace of mobile point of sale technology and advanced merchant services is pressuring traditional terminal makers to ensure that their devices are not only still relevant, but capable of evolution.
"Someone can ask, 'What is the future of purpose-built point of sales terminals? Aren't they dinosaurs that sit on a countertop?'" said Rod Hometh, senior vice president of market development for Ingenico. "One would say that if it's just something to swipe a card through and get an authorization, then there's not a need for that in the future. But if a merchant needs EMV or encryption or other services, I would say there's a way to do all of that in a terminal."
Ingenico has entered into a pair of partnerships in the past couple of weeks to better meet the needs of merchants. It is working with the processor Total Systems Services and cloud-based point of sale technology provider Beamm. In both cases, Ingenico hopes to make it easy for merchantsparticularly small businessesto quickly add EMV-chip payments and Near Field Communication payments like Apple Pay.
"You want to be able to solve all of those problems and get a device that costs less than $200," Hometh said, though he did not list the specific prices of the terminals affected by these partnerships.
Ingenico's work with TSYS will involve a payment app that runs on certain Ingenico terminals and powers tokenization, encryption and NFC.
Ingenico's team-up with Beamm combines Ingenico's iCT terminal and Beamm's iPad point of sale app, as well as a stand that supports payments compatible with Apple Pay, Google Wallet and EMV. The Beamm/Ingenico point of sale product, called smart tabletPOS and sold through Ingenico's existing distribution networks, is designed to be a combination of a standalone point of sale terminal and a Web-connected device.
The Beamm partnership also includes inventory management, stock alerts, data analysis, social network promotions and mobile ordering. Other merchants and payment companies, such as Square and Starbucks, are also focused on mobile ordering capabilities.
"It's a big challenge for small businesses to handle all of these developments, such as EMV and mobile so it's important to be able to bring this all together," Hometh said.
These features are designed to give local sales reps ammo to maintain their relationships with merchants, which have an abundance of choices for updating their point of sale technology.
Square and PayPal are both adding Web-connected services to tablet-based point of sale systems. Leaf, another mobile point of sale provider, operates an app store for its tablet, LeafPresenter, and its merchant services portal, LeafBusiness. PayPal and LevelUp are among the companies that have added payment and merchants apps to Leaf's store.
The pressure is building for smaller merchants compete with larger chains or even just to meet the demands of the card networks, which expect most merchants to be able to handle EMV-chip card payments by October. The consequence for missing this deadline is a shift in fraud liability.
"As the clock continues to tick toward the October EMV liability shift and merchants becoming more aware of Apple Pay, there is a huge push to get this technology to smaller merchants," said Bernie Frey, senior vice president of acquirer sales in North America for Ingenico, adding the ability to tie easy access to Apple Pay's NFC capabilities can make for a smoother transition to EMV and other security protocols such as tokenization. "Unlike EMV, Apple Pay doesn't have to be explained to smaller merchants."
For terminal makers such as Ingenico, partnering is a way to enable merchants to add more technologies without seeking out new partners on their own, said Andy Schmidt, a research director at CEB TowerGroup.
"If you can accept the payment that's fantastic, but if you can steer the consumer, that's even better," Schmidt said. "By being able to offer a device that handles a number of different protocols, the merchant is in a much better position to capitalize on trends and influence how consumers are spending money and why."
There's also a benefit of reducing the amount of hardware needed to accept payments, Schmidt said.
"There is pressure on real estate inside stores," Schmidt said. "I you look at some retailers, there's a hodge podge of devices to handle different functions and you wonder how well it works."
Ingenico is in a position to be a bridge that enables the retailer to work with a number of payment types and protocols, Schmidt said, adding the cloud access can enable faster adjustments to new technology as it becomes popular.
"If a merchant can accept NFC payments, for example, that's big," Schmidt said. "The merchant can then accept Apple Pay and Google Wallet and whatever else comes down the pike as opposed to having a separate terminal for all of these things."