The POS of the future offers multiple options for consumers. To make purchases, you'll swipe your mag-stripe card (until they're phased out completely) or insert your Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) card into a reader. If your card is contactless, you'll merely tap it on the reader. Your smartphone is another option; if it contains near field communication (NFC), you'll be able to just tap the phone to pay.
Plus, if you have Bluetooth turned on and the store is iBeacon-enabled, your phone will handle the transaction from your pocket while you just smile at the cashier. And if you don't like any of these choices, you'll still be able to write checks or pay with old-fashioned cash.
Indeed, the POS is becoming the point of choice. And that's a good thing. However, the more choices available, the more potential decisions must be made.
ISOs and merchant level salespeople have a proliferating array of products and services available to sell tablets, handhelds, terminals, registers, printers, loyalty, gift, quick response, NFC, remote deposit capture, Apple, Android, Windows, Bluetooth, bitcoin. And there are countless vendors and service providers to partner with, each with its own way of doing things.
But what happens if you make the wrong choice? You can hurt your business, or go out of business, if you partner with the wrong business or bet on a solution that doesn't pan out.
What happens if you commit to selling a tablet POS and, all of a sudden, the market changes and a new service that uses a revolutionary, and disruptive, technology catches on? Or what do you do if you go all-in on EMV terminals, only to learn that fraudsters have found a way to circumvent EMV safeguards?
Indeed, the point of choice is also the point of chance. It's full of promise and opportunity, as well as potential peril. And yet, this is why the payments game is an interesting one to play. So make your choices and take your chances, and may the best payment pros win.
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