By Michael Ault
Payment terminals have always been an essential asset for businesses that complete customer transactions in-store. The easily recognizable devices have reliably taken card payments for decades and have undergone dramatic technological advances in this period.
Recently, technical innovations have accelerated, boosted by the urgency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with the humble payment terminal shedding its hard exterior, it is no longer seen only as a commoditized hardware-based necessity. As many experts in the payments industry predicted, the payment terminal is becoming a digital enabler and a vital pivot point for modernization for any business that accepts electronic transactions.
The spectrum of payment terminals is broadening, ranging from the traditional counter-top device to off-the-shelf smartphones and tablets equipped with Software-based PIN Entry on COTS (SPoC) and Contactless Payments on COTS (CPoC) technology.
Payment terminals are allowing businesses to update and adapt to an ever-changing environment and their customers' evolving needs. The recent technological drive has had a part to play in new opportunities that have arisen to support businesses nationally.
At the center of this recent wave of innovation, the new Android operating system has facilitated increased demand for mobile payment devices and is backed by the likes of Visa. Businesses are becoming increasingly fascinated by the idea of deploying Android POS solutions due to the flexibility and convenience they bring. The technology allows terminals to incorporate EPOS and strong authentication, as well as alternative payment methods such as bank-to-bank payments, QR codes and even crypto currencies.
As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are making adjustments and improvements to their existing operations. For commercial gains, payment terminals running on the Android OS allow for POS functionality and combine that with other essential business systems such as stock management, visual itemization and centralized booking systems.
The Android operating system also provides greater visibility of a business’s health and finance, while also allowing for more information to be gained, which means friction points such as wait times and queues in stores can be managed better. More data pertaining to customer behavior allows businesses to customize the in-store experience and in-turn increase revenue.
Data also allows businesses to determine their customers payment preferences, allowing them to decipher the correct style of payment terminal to launch. UTP Group researchers found that contactless payments account for 80 to 90 percent of all face-to-face transactions due to convenience and hygiene reasons. This data shows how the payments industry has had to evolve in recent times, and the necessity to cater to consumer’s changing needs post pandemic.
Strengthening cash flows will unassumingly take centre stage for businesses to rebuild. Payment terminals are now powered by better internet connections, allowing transactions to be accepted quicker, which results in funds being deposited into merchant’s bank accounts, often within the same day.
Data is becoming a necessary tool for businesses to thrive, and the Android operating system’s ability to generate an impressive wealth of data adds to its compelling proposition. The value that data and analytics can bring to a company is overwhelmingly powerful and in-turn can lead to stronger cash flows. The ability to filter large volumes of information and uncover actionable insights can help leaders learn about their customers, choose better decision and ultimately produce more revenue.
This knowledge can be used for a variety of purposes including the ability to upsell to future customers with greater success as well as handle tactical arrangements of items in-store. Crucially, it is now enabling businesses to maintain a COVID-safe environment by allowing businesses to plan ahead for in-store activity.
The Android operating system is allowing businesses to develop and deploy a range of applications to suit their needs and wants. The ability for small to midsize enterprises to delve into and explore these applications is enabling them to seek advantages over competitors and thrive in their industries.
Whatever the future holds for the humbled payment terminal, innovation the POS is undergoing is allowing businesses and customers to adapt to the new normal.
Michael Ault is chief executive officer of UTP Group, a payment solutions company with over 30,000 clients in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar. UTP provides Faster Processing, enabling merchants to receive funds the same day, or even within the hour. The company also offers a wide range of market-leading credit and debit card payment solutions, such as fixed/countertop credit card machines, portable credit card machines and mobile credit card machines. In addition, UTP offers virtual terminals and ecommerce payment gateways to its customers. For more information, visit www.utpgroup.co.uk.
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