VeriFone and iPayment are partnering on a tablet-based point of sale system to provide small-business owners the types of services more commonly used by larger businesses.

Called iPayment POS, the system is aimed at iPayment's processing client base of more than 150,000 small businesses that the company serves directly or through third parties such as independent sales organizations.

"When we designed our tablet solution we created an environment that enables a lot of flexibility to add incremental features, whether it's loyalty or gift cards or analytics, to create stickiness for the [merchants] or the end users," says Shan Ethridge, vice present and general manager of VeriFone's North American financial services group.

iPayment POS is an iOS app that combines VeriFone's GlobalBay Merchant technology and other iPayment propriety systems. The app comes bundled with the iPayment POS software, cash drawer, bar code scanner, stand, printer, and either the VeriFone Payware Mobile e100 audio reader or the VX 805 PIN Pad.

The technology will help smaller merchants upgrade to EMV-chip card payments, Ethridge says. The VX 805 supports Near Field Communication, EMV, PIN debit and signature card transactions.

"The merchants will be able to accommodate the shifts in payments that are occurring over the next 18 to 24 months," Ethridge says. The system also includes inventory management, appointment scheduling and customer management.

iPayment POS is also designed to work like any other tablet apps that the business owners are familiar with, says Monica Dabaghi, a product development specialist at iPayment.

"You flip around the app like you do at home," she says. "Our system is a business function. You can see sales on a snapshot, and click two buttons to see inventory or a report, or manage a discount program. You can also send out a notice to consumers on a holiday discount and put that out in about ten minutes."

The app will be converted to Android later this year and Windows in 2015, she says.

iPayment and VeriFone have a fee agreement for use of the iPayment POS. Ethridge would not disclose terms of that agreement, but says it will allow flexibility for merchants to pay fees per transaction, fixed fees or a hybrid of the two models.

VeriFone and iPayment's move comes as Square and other mobile point of sale vendors are quickly adapting their offerings to better serve larger merchants. Square is enabling merchants to make partial refunds through its Square Register tablet app, and has added an order ahead function to allow consumers to purchase items online or from a mobile app before visiting a store. 

Last week, Groupon unveiled a service called Gnome (pronounced genome) that works with an iPad mini. The company has also steadily updated its tablet-based Breadcrumb POS system with features such as an offline redundancy mode and the ability to handle tabs for bar patrons.

Leaf, a company that includes Heartland Payment Systems among its investors, added an app store a year ago for users of its LeafPresenter tablet. Ingenico's Roam has added employee management to its mobile point of sale system and Total System Services recently partnered with Shopkeep POS to offer tablet point of sale services.

"The market is becoming increasingly busy; indeed, some might say saturated," says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst at Celent. "The whole market has shifted from card acceptance to value-adds, such as 'Who is my customer, what do they spend and how can I encourage them to spend more?' What we see [with VeriFone and iPayment] is the mobile point of sale is the base platform for these value-added services offered by iPayment."

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