Mirroring the introduction long ago of magnetic stripe technology to point-of-sale systems, the payments industry is now experiencing another important evolution; the dawn of mobile smart devices and our hyper-connected world by virtue of the Internet.
Leading theory on the future of POS is predicting it to become the second revolution in mobile technology, an all-encompassing integration with day-to-day merchant needs. From lowering transaction fees to accepting all sorts of payment types, monitoring and bookkeeping, the future role POS systems will play will be under tremendous scrutiny and importance. Future success will largely be dictated by the emerging technologies launching today.
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Key factors that will shape the POS of tomorrow:
– Mobile: the next 12 months will witness the proliferation and rise of mobile as a permanent fixture as payment method. Smartphone usage rates are growing exponentially, and the creation of many focused offshoot technology companies is helping pave the way for future payment platforms.
– Security and progression to EMV: With any rapid technological advancement (especially one that handles sensitive personal payment information) security becomes an important issue. The handling and integrity of payment information will be a hot topic with policymakers and governing bodies. Furthermore it is stated that all American-based merchants will need to adopt EMV-capable POS systems by the year 2015.
– Contactless Payments: NFC is driving this trend…but will it only remain a trend? As mobile smart devices become go-to daily habits for consumers, technology like NFC could take a permanent place.
– New Technology: Innovation begats new technological advancement, but certain companies in the traditional payment industry may find it hard to deviate from the well-beaten path. Payment goliath VeriFone made a huge leap for their business by acquiring global outdoor advertising network Clear Channel Outdoors Inc, and will introduce a promotional platform to integrate with POS and payment systems.
Balance for the future of POS will lie between two paradigms: 1) the desire to enhance current systems for ease of use, or 2) to solve existing problems. The latter idea is more reactive by nature and may not be sufficient in being innovative, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see how the payment industry continues to evolve in the years to come.
Recently launched at the WIMA show in Monaco, Nokia has put NFC at the forefront of this latest Windows 7.6 Mango edition of the Lumia handset series.
The phone will be initially launched by Orange and already is certified by Visa and Mastercard for contactless payments, supports NFC tag reading and writing, peer-to-peer pairing, and card emulation modes.
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According to Ilari Nurmi, Nokia’s head of smart device product marketing, NFC will be included in all future releases: “we’re bringing NFC right across our portfolio, and together with our ever-growing range of NFC accessories we’re making it easy for people to connect via a single tap. We’re also enabling operators and other service providers to build NFC payment and ticketing solutions on this site top of our smartphones.”
Look for the overseas launch sometime in late 2012 and checkout this video for more info.
Austrian mobile network operator A1 and Paybox Bank have enlisted McDonalds to launch a new, test NFC mobile payment system from now until mid-2012. Five hundred end-users have been selected to assess this new system dubbed Paybox NFC.
The system aims to deliver mobile payments utilizing NFC contactless technology, but unlike other recent digital wallet and mobile payment solutions all transactions will be handled in “the cloud” over the standard EMV point-of-sale terminals. The goal is to allow users to pay for transactions below the €25 mark without having to enter a PIN number.
A1 currently hosts numerous models of NFC phones including the Sony Xperia S, Blackberry Curve 9360, HTC One X and Blackberry Bold 9900. For those interested in usage outside of mobile devices, contactless stickers will also be tested as an alternative.
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As far as functionality goes, the process is quite similar to most digital wallets and contactless payment systems currently on the market, however Paybox NFC does not use Visa’s PayWave or Mastercard’s Paypass solutions. Paybox and A1 offer the service in tandem, and all transactions are handled directly through a designated bank. Users simply sign-up for a Paybox account then direct it to their bank of choice and then download the Paybox app, which is coupled with their current A1 mobile service. No important payment information is stored on neither the NFC enabled chip on the mobile device or on the supplemental NFC stickers.
“Cash is still the most popular means of payment, especially for amounts of up to €25. Searching for small change or waiting to be given money back is time consuming. With Paybox NFC, we can offer our customers a state-of-the-art alternative,” noted Bernd Hartweger, CEO of Paybox Bank.