By Sean Berg
The payments world is evolving from mag stripe cards to new methods of payment such as Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip cards, near field communication (NFC) -enabled devices, mobile payment applications, and more advanced technologies. By moving your sales pitch from lower rates and stand-alone terminals to all-in-one POS systems, you can secure a stable path forward and protect yourself against any disruptions these new technologies will cause.
An inherent benefit of POS systems is that they become central to merchants' operations. They make it unlikely your clients will move to a mobile solution or other new technology on a whim. Merchants interested in new payment technologies will come to you for consultation. Locking in those relationships will lock in your future.
POS systems also become an integration point for new payment technologies. Several such technologies are gaining traction.
Smart cards, which are credit cards with EMV capability, include embedded microprocessors (called chips) that provide robust security features and other applications that mag stripe cards cannot provide. EMV transactions utilize "dynamic digital data," resulting in extremely secure transactions with a reduced chance of fraud.
EMV technology is already the standard in more than 100 countries worldwide. And the four major U.S. card brands have all mandated moving to an EMV-based payment infrastructure in the United States by October 2015. Thereafter merchants will incur increased liability for fraudulent transactions if their payment devices do not support EMV.
NFC allows consumers to pay for goods by waving an NFC-enabled smartphone within range of a compatible reader. NFC has strong support from well-known, well-financed companies such as Google Inc. and leading telecom companies. This, combined with the proliferation of NFC-enabled smartphones, makes it likely NFC will reach mainstream adoption soon.
Some emerging payment technologies include:
Common to many of these technologies is loyalty program integration to encourage consumer adoption and empower merchants with robust analytics. This offers a compelling reason for many consumers and merchants to explore these options.
It is not a question of whether new technologies will enter the U.S. payment space; it is a question of when. The need is growing for consultants who understand the payment space and can provide merchants an integration point for new technologies.
POS systems that boast long-term supportability and allow for remote updates are among the best ways to protect your portfolio. They enable you to transition seamlessly from a traditional bank card rep to a consultant who provides merchants the integration point necessary to survive change. Embracing solutions that offer stability and protect against disruption will ensure that you will be the one to implement new payment technologies as they arise. This approach removes the risk of disruption by putting you in control of the merchant's POS.
Sean Berg is National Sales Trainer at Harbortouch, a leading national provider of touch-screen POS systems and payment processing services. The company offers an unprecedented "free" POS program that allows the company's sales partners to offer a full-featured POS system with no upfront costs. As National Sales Trainer, Sean trains the company's ISO/MLS partners on all aspects of POS systems. Previously, Sean was an IT industry consultant and was a manager in Harbortouch's POS division. For information about Harbortouch's free POS program, visit www.isoprogram.com.
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