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Table of Contents

Lead Story

What will be in merchants' stockings this year - caviar or coal?

News

Industry Update

Farewell PABP, hello PA DSS

Visa, AmEx settlement no biggie for merchants

More public steps for bankcard heavyweights

Optimal socked by Internet gambling regs

Go international in real-time

It sings, it instructs, it's a gift card

Mobile checkout moving up

Features

Data breaches pique interest

Travis K. Kircher
ATMMarketplace.com

Growing on the 'Inside'

Views

Art imitates life or does life imitate art?

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Stay ahead with a checklist

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

Education

Street SmartsSM:
We're all in the PCI loop, like it or not

Dee Karawadra
Impact PaySystem

What to watch in the coming months

Rob Drozdowski
Electronic Transactions Association

Using e-mail effectively: Copy and design

Nancy Drexler
Marketing Moguls

Security breaches costly to all

David Mertz
Compliance Security Partners LLC

Turning negatives into positives

Steve Schwimmer
Renaissance Merchant Services

Opportunity knocks at your online door

Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting Inc.

Liability limbo: Where will you land?

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Company Profile

FirstView Financial LLC

Commerciant

New Products

A cherry of a keyboard

Cherry LPOS Qwerty Keyboard
Cherry Corp.

Sign on the dotted line - online

ContractPal
ContractPal Inc.

Inspiration

Holiday survival guide

Miscellaneous

POScript

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 26, 2007  •  Issue 07:11:02

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Mobile checkout moving up

Consumers flock to stores where they get what they want. And besides quality merchandise sold at decent prices, they crave quick service. With that in mind, a growing number of retailers are reducing long lines by using mobile, wireless hand-held devices that do it all - scan products, accept bankcard payments and print receipts - from anywhere in the store.

Apple Inc. stores first employed mobile checkout in 2005 as a solution to the holiday rush. By fall 2006, the stores eliminated checkout lanes and traditional POS terminals. Customers now roam the aisles and browse products, and cashiers bring checkout services to them.

Since Apple's mobile checkout rollout, sales have steadily climbed. The company reported its third quarter gross margin was 29.7% higher in 2006 than 2005. This year, third quarter sales were 30.3% higher, setting a company record. Other businesses have taken note.

"Mobile checkout continues to evolve along many fronts - hand-held scanners, mobile phone as a payment device, tap-n-go at vending machines and the list continues to grow," said Biff Matthews, President of Thirteen Inc., the parent company of CardWare International.

Make it easy

The continued growth, according to Matthews, is to keep up with customer satisfaction. "First and foremost every customer wants increased convenience," he said. "If hand-held scanners at the point of decision make the purchase transaction more convenient, faster, easier, they're for it."

Matthews believes the trend in adding convenience across all payment methods will continue in selected venues and for select transaction types such as low-dollar purchases that do not require receipts.

Hand-held scanners are also being used in trial periods at grocery stores such as Supervalu Inc.'s Albertsons. But these scanners let customers walk through the aisles and scan items as they put them into their carts. Once at the register, they just hand the scanner over and go through the payment process.

Proceed with caution

Certain aspects of mobile checkout have some retailers holding their applause. "The security of how the card data in the scanner is handled and communicated will be a concern, which raises a host of questions regarding communication methodology and its security," Matthews said.

Although mobile checkout is convenient for customers, logistics and possible security breaches cause some consternation. To prevent theft, the POS is typically located in the front of the store. But hand-held scanners change that.

"I am not of the opinion that a hand-held scanner is the solution for every [POS] environment," Matthews said. "Data security will be a concern but not a stopper until the data is compromised, and I can think of several methods by which that may be accomplished." Matthews also noted that payment for merchandise is only one part of the POS transaction. Depending on the business type and product, other matters must be addressed, for example, packaging and security tags. "These are operational issues that must be considered in conjunction with a change in payment method," he said.

Hand-held scanners give consumers the power to shop at their own pace. Retailers adopting this technology hope it will boost customer loyalty and sales. If Apple's experience is an indication of what's possible, they just might be right.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | Harbortouch | USAePay | IRISCRM.COM | Humboldt Merchant Services