As more merchants demand mobile technology to accept payments in their stores, vendors like Total System Services are diversifying their offerings.

“There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for the market,” says Craig Ludwig, senior director product management for the payments processor. “We have a broad range of merchants, form Tier 1 to mom and pop stores, and there’s a need for more than one type of mobile payment solution.”

TSYS, which obtained its own mobile payment device through its 2012 acquisition of ProPay, is working with ShopKeep POS to provide tablet-based business tools to small merchants.

“ShopKeep brings us a new layer of service that allows us to focus on coffee shops, retail specialty foods and casual dining,” Ludwig says.

ShopKeep’s software supports remote management of store locations, monitoring of card and cash payment volume and tracking of tablet use, he says. TSYS will also provide access to services through ShopKeep’s partnership with PayPal.

“Payments is becoming more of a ‘check in’ at stores instead of a ‘check out’ process,” Ludwig says. With PayPal and ShopKeep, consumers can check in at a store location with the PayPal app, sending the shopper’s photo to the merchant for authentication.

TSYS is competing in a crowded market of mobile point of sale providers, including companies like Square, Leaf, Groupon and Roam that are building new technology to attract larger merchants with more complex needs. “Merchant acquiring is becoming very creative in how the companies bundle services,” Ludwig says.

Tablets are becoming a popular device for mobile point of sale because they can blend payment and non-payment services.

“It’s not just about the payment or being able to take a credit card,” says Jason Richelson, founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS, adding it’s necessary for the mobile or tablet point of sale system to serve as a full business management tool.

“You have to make sure you can track stuff like time clock entries and make it easier to make adjustments, because employees often forget to clock out,” he says. “When you’re doing payroll, that can be a pain.”

The partnership is also beneficial for ShopKeep POS, says Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst and consultant at Double Diamond Payments Research.

“It makes a ton of sense for ShopKeep and other mobile point of sale providers to align with TSYS and other acquirers and ISOs,” Oglesby says. “While lots of mobile point of sale solutions are available in app stores and on websites, many merchants are busy running their businesses rather than shopping online for a new POS solution. Changing out a point of sale is a big change for a merchant, so they need to be convinced of the reason for doing so, and they need a bit of handholding and service through the process.”

At the same time acquirers and ISOs should  flesh out their mobile offerings to stay competitive, Oglesby says.

“Those that continue to sell the same old stuff will soon be wielding knives at a gunfight,” he says. “With EMV coming there will be lots of opportunity in the coming 18 to 24 months to replace cash registers. Sales organization that can address both opportunities simultaneously will be in the best position to capitalize on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ISOs, acquirers and agents.”

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