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.