VeriFone Systems Inc. is attempting to make life easier for merchants and acquirers by bundling payments hardware, software, security and compliance into a payment-as-a-service product called VeriFone Point.

“There’s been a lot of innovation in recent years, and there’s confusion in the marketplace,” says Brent Phillips, VeriFone director of product marketing. “Point was designed to accommodate that complexity.”

The company has been testing Point with merchants, processors, independent sales organizations and independent software vendors, Phillips, says. It’s expected to become widely available in October.

The Point managed service is tied to VeriFone’s acquisition early last year of a Swedish company called Point that accepted all types of established and alternative payments.

“Point evolved as a managed-services offering where the device, plus the services, were made available on a subscription basis,” Phillips says.

VeriFone made that acquisition as a step toward offering a complete service, the company said at the time.

Since then, the situation has continued to become more complex with the spread of social-media payments, contactless payments, mobile payments, mobile wallets, EMV, Near Field Communication, analytics, omni-channel retailing, loyalty rewards, and coupons and other offers, says Phillips. Complying Payment Card Industry data security standards also adds complexity as does the need to protect consumer data.

“At VeriFone, we realized all of these technologies will ultimately have to touch our platforms, either on the gateway side or on the devices or both,” he says.

Meanwhile, most merchants here rely on systems with disparate components that required tricky integration, he notes.

Many merchants and their vendors tend to set up the systems and give them little additional thought, Phillips says.

With Point, VeriFone is delivering a standard system that includes payment terminals; the Point Portal, which aggregates many of VeriFone’s established services; EMV support, including updates and recertification; remote key loading; transaction services; deployment and shipping; gateway; encryption and tokenization; help desk; estate management, the ability to control and monitor devices; device warranty and repair; and NFC capability, including the Google and Isis wallets.

Another package includes those functions and data-breach insurance, another package adds EMV support and priority exchange, and a third includes every function.

The company has developed the combinations after consulting with potential users.

Software vendors are attracted to Point’s simpler integration and may adopt parts of Point, he says.

“We want to be flexible,” Phillips says. “There is a foundational bit of technology that defines Point, which is the device management, the security and the device. Beyond that, we want to make the flexibility available to third parties to use it to enhance their offering. That’s what our hope is for most of the ISO community.”

The system will connect with virtually all transaction processors and third-party service providers, Phillips says.

VeriFone expects to add functions in later releases, he notes.

Merchants pay a fixed fee per month over the length of the contract, which differs from gateways that charge per transaction. First Data intends to stick with the flat-rate pricing even as it adds third-party partners, such as loyalty program providers.

VeriFone intends to push Point hardest among merchants with aging terminals ready for replacement, Phillips says.

The flat fee also frees Merchants from paying upfront fees for devices, Phillips says.

Meanwhile, ISOs and agents that promote Point would continue to set their own prices for transactions.

“We’ve got an opportunity to help ISOs differentiate,” he says. “Having Point as part of their portfolio, or augmenting their portfolio with those parts of Point that make sense, could be very valuable to them.”

The product could also help ISOs become ISVs, the company says.

Plans have been laid to accept EMV cards and meet PCI standards, Phillips says.

VeriFone is using a semi-integrated payments architecture, with fewer functions residing on the payments terminals, thus limiting PCI scope and easing compliance. It also gives VeriFone flexibility in introducing innovation because it won’t have to make changes at the point of sale.

“What we’re really excited about with this integration method is the time to do so has dramatically reduced, relative to some of our previous integration methods,” Phillips says.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry