GS Logo
The Green Sheet, Inc

Please Log in

A Thing

Do You Think I'm Sexy? The Changing Face of Payment Terminals

Here's an exercise for you.

  1. Look in your CD player (the actual player, not your archives). Are you still listening to Genesis, Duran Duran, Journey or "hair" bands from the '80s?

  2. Look in your driveway. Do you see a used Ford Pinto parked there?

  3. Look at the way you dress. Men, do you still turn up the collars on your polo shirts? Women, do you still wear "power" shoulder pads under everything from T-shirts to sweaters?

  4. Look in the mirror. Have you aged at all in the past 15 years? (Exclude botox injections, please.) Can you still squeeze into the acid-washed jeans buried in the back of your closet? (We all know they're in there.)

  5. Now look at your payment terminals. Are they little gray boxes with 16 keys or big black boxes with 35 keys? Can you recite the Pledge of Allegiance by the time the receipt prints?

Do you get my point? It's 2003, not 1987. Times have changed for you and times have changed for the point-of-sale. Let's take a look at the changing face of payment terminals and examine the features and functions designed to bring your business into the 21st century!

If You've Seen One Terminal, You've Seen Them All

To many merchants, payment is perceived as a commodity business. Without close scrutiny, one POS terminal may look and perform pretty much like the other. In the end, this makes many merchants extremely price-sensitive; they will move their business to shave a few dollars off processing costs each month.

To overcome this commodity image, ISOs must be highly creative in how they position and promote their payment solutions. One of the most effective ways to differentiate your services from the competition and reduce price sensitivity is to deploy payment solutions that are good-looking, feature-rich, reliable, user-friendly and priced right.

Let's Face It: Sex Sells

Smart salespeople everywhere - from the cosmetics industry to the liquor industry to the automobile industry - understand the importance of image. Pick up a Tranz 330 or a Hypercom T7. What comes to mind - form or function?

If you really want to offer a solution that helps you stand out from the competition, choose one that not only gets the job done but also looks good on a merchant's counter. It should have a small footprint; clean, smooth lines; and be free of cables and connectors.

It also can be helpful if there is some way to customize a terminal through the use of colorful overlays, perhaps ones that feature your company's logo.

The latest generation of payment terminals relies on an ergonomic, intuitive, ATM-style interface with a large graphical display and screen-addressable keys, delivering feature-rich functionality in an easy-to-use solution.

However, look carefully: A large display with buttons underneath may not be truly intuitive - have you ever seen an ATM designed like that?

To accurately call a terminal "ATM-style," it needs a large display to prompt the clerk through a transaction and buttons to the right of the screen to quickly make the proper selection.

Beauty is More than Skin Deep

Looks may open doors, but it's what inside that closes deals. Are your solutions smart enough to win - and keep - a merchant's business? Make sure to also consider the following features found "under the hood."

Performance: Choose a solution that is powerful, easy to use and reliable. Emerging requirements will demand the power of a 32-bit processor. Solutions featuring an 8-bit processing speed may not be able to keep up.

If you plan to offer value-added applications, make sure you've got plenty of memory. And if it's speed that counts, choose a terminal that supports SSL-protected IP communications to deliver secure transactions over open public networks (cable, DSL, CDMA, etc) in less than four seconds.

Open Architecture: You need a solution that supports an array of value-added applications from a variety of service providers. It should feature an open development environment, not a proprietary O/S, so you can be fast to market with the applications you choose.

And don't settle for a solution that requires painful recertification to the basic payment application whenever you add or change a value-added application. Security: You need a solution that securely protects your investment and keeps up with the security mandates, such as 3DES and PED. As you make the move to the multi-app generation, security becomes paramount in protecting your terminal investment.

Reliability: Finally, buy with confidence and choose a solution that's built to last so you can spend your time on the street, not on the support line. Interested in a future-proof investment? Look for a terminal that supports modular field upgrade options for advanced IP communications and smart card support.

Both you and this industry have come a long way in 20 years. It's a new generation, and if you want to line your pockets with enough cash to upgrade your CD collection and your wardrobe or buy that new BMW Z3, select a payment terminal designed to do the job right!

(And, really, you don't look as if you've aged at all.)

Michelle Graff is Director of Global Marketing for VeriFone.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
Back Next Index © 2003, The Green Sheet, Inc.