Slideshow 6 Twists on the Mobile Point of Sale

  • June 19 2015, 2:30pm EDT
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Mobile card acceptance devices have changed a lot in recent years. They are now much more complex than the simple plug-in card readers many are familiar with. And their evolution is far from over.

Size Matters

As tablet-based systems get bigger and more complex, First Data is looking in the other direction. Its "Clover Mini" is looking to serve the middle ground between smartphone- and tablet-based card acceptance. The midsized device can function as a stationary point of sale but is capable of being carried around for line-busting and other functions.

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Magstripe Goes Missing

Square's new Near Field Communication device, which also accepts EMV-chip card transactions, was built without the capability of reading pure magnetic-stripe cards. Advertised as an Apple Pay-compatible device, the NFC/EMV reader may help merchants transition away from magstripe by simply offering them no other choice.

Tablets with Tethers

WiFi is convenient, but it may not always be reliable. Revel is addressing this concern by enabling a wired Internet connection for its mobile point of sale products. The tablets can still use WiFi, but they are designed to benefit from the greater reliability of a plugged-in cable.

An App for That

A cash register with an app store? Sounds like a crazy idea, but companies like Leaf and First Data are making it a reality. This means merchants can add capabilities as they need them, without needing to consider hardware upgrades in most cases.

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Not So Mobile

The so-called "mobile" point of sale may need a new name. Many tablet-based systems are adhered to tabletops and cash drawers. And even those devices that can move around a store often stay put, since their owners view them as little more than inexpensive cash registers.

iPad Meets Paper Pad

Some companies just don't want all of the perks of a mobile point of sale system. Waffle House, which resisted accepting credit cards until 2006, refused to let its new tablet-based NCR Silver system replace the process of jotting orders on a paper pad. "We're not big on change," a Waffle House exec said.