United Bank Card Inc., which is known as one of the ISO community's most innovative companies, has taken the lead once again with the rollout of its free POS system program. UBC said its integrated Harbortouch POS system is the first of its class to be offered at no cost to approved merchants that sign with the company.
"I think it's an industry game changer," said Jared Isaacman, President of UBC. "At some point, it's inevitable that others will follow our lead. We probably have a pretty good head start on the competition just because we got our foot in the front sales system door back in 2007 when we created Harbortouch."
Since 2004, when UBC introduced its free terminal program, the ISO has learned how free POS offers work. "We basically accepted the fact that there's a certain acquisition cost that's reasonable for every merchant, and we have to make it back over time," Isaacman said.
"I think that's just the nature of the recurring revenue business. Naturally, our free POS system is substantially more expensive than anything that's previously been offered, so that means that there's a much longer return on investment."
But the reward is virtually nonexistent attrition, according to Isaacman. "Merchants, when they have a POS system, don't leave over a couple of bucks in savings," he said.
"Their whole business runs around it, and it's also proprietary technology to UBC. Every system is extremely customized right down to the product and inventory that's carried. Yes, it's a high-end solution, but at the same time these are generally higher volume merchants that last much longer than normal credit card accounts."
The system's core package, designed and manufactured by UBC, features a five-wire touch screen POS system with magnetic stripe reader, an Intel central processing unit, UBC's proprietary Lighthouse management and reporting software suite, Harbortouch Hospitality 3.0 or Harbortouch Retail software, a cash drawer, and a thermal printer.
"Everything is entirely turnkey, right down to the on-site installation and training, so there is nothing that they would additionally need," Isaacman said.
He also believes the service level is superior because ISOs can offer more support for a POS system than with a standard terminal. It's functionality makes it an evolving product, with people wanting to "change menu items, redo their menu, change shifts, add employees," he added.
Isaacman also noted that the Harbortouch POS can produce chargeback notifications, deposit information, mode administration, daily backups, live chats and other functions not possible with a standard terminal.
"Our same residual program is included with this, and we pay an upfront commission of $300 per system, which is very important because a restaurant could have three or four systems, so that could be a $900 or $1,200 commission," Isaacman said. "It comes with a lifetime warranty. If something breaks, we're going to replace it."
Isaacman noted that, in a pilot test of the new program, a select group of UBC salespeople was able to triple previous sales.
To facilitate the rollout, UBC will offer complementary leads to all active participants involved with the free POS program, as well as online training. ISOs operating in the field can use UBC's POS Sales Center software to demonstrate the product and transmit merchant agreements wirelessly over a laptop or tablet PC.
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