Ten years ago, free terminals were all the rage. ISOs vied for the attention of merchant level salespeople (MLSs) by touting the benefits of equipment offerings from the likes of Verifone, WAY Systems, Nurit, Hypercom, ViVOtech, Comstar, ExaDigm and more. Terminal leasing was challenged but remained a viable option in the MLS toolbox. Equipment refurbishing was also big business.
Fast forward a decade, and some equipment vendors of yesteryear are now mere memories, their terminals museum-ready conversation pieces. Yet some savvy equipment vendors have transformed into innovative technology companies. Along with upstart fintechs, they offer a range of mobile and cloud-based solutions that can replace single-use devices and deliver a consistent customer experience across in-app, in-store and online channels via smartphones, tablets, laptops and integrated systems. And they're giving MLSs the tools they need to compete in our brave, new digital world.
This issue's lead article explores this amazing transformation, discussing a variety of innovative distributed service models now available to the industry's feet on the street. Stand-alone terminals haven't gone the way of the knuckle busters of old, but this may just be a matter of time.
Speaking of time, one of our contributors to this issue likens the transformation of watches over the years to that of payment devices, but also reminds us that, despite all the bells and whistles, the basic functions, telling time and facilitating payments, remain constant. Another examines payment offerings in a region different than his own and finds they are, for the time being, more advanced than those on his home turf. Additional contributors delve into combating online fraud ‒ a necessity even for brick-and-mortar merchants, as well as for those in the online gaming realm. Another expert discusses why people with traditional bank accounts love prepaid debit cards.
In addition to mentioning numerous milestones pertaining to new company and individual achievements in payments, we've also included highlights from a range of stories such as a new API for financial data sharing, a proposed act in the House of Representatives to protect marijuana businesses in states where they are legal, the new Google Pay app nearing completion, the DOJ's stepped up cybersecurity vigilance, and more.
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