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No Strings Attached: The What's and Why's of Wireless

By Javier Bension

The payment processing industry is in the midst of a major technological change: The wireless revolution is here. Wireless POS terminals offer the security and speed of dial-up POS terminals but add an invaluable level of convenience through their portability.

The development of new terminal and wireless transmission technologies provides major benefits to sales professionals, and merchants, in every area of the industry but only if we all understand the rewards of going wireless.

For example, as merchant level salespeople (MLSs), you can sell processing packages to previously untapped markets that rely on travel, delivery, door-to-door sales and trade shows. Processors can approve and underwrite these new businesses with confidence; improvements in wireless technology now allow for the same security levels as card-swiped transactions on a traditional dial-up terminal.

Merchants who do business on the road can enjoy the safety and convenience of accepting electronic payments, effectively eliminating the need to carry large quantities of cash with them.

Consumers no longer need to worry about having enough cash on hand to pay for purchases at a trade show, roadside stand or in their homes.

There's no doubt that wireless technology is the wave of the future in the processing industry.

But how should you adapt to the wireless revolution without being left behind in the land of dial-up terminals? What new merchant categories will wireless terminals enable you to add to your portfolio? What's next in wireless technology?

Selling Wireless

Wireless options are not necessarily the best fit for every merchant, but for many, they will serve as a perfect processing tool. It's easy to get distracted by the technological and surface innovations of wireless terminals: the bells and whistles, eye-catching new designs and decreasing size.

While these features have a certain appeal, remember that buying or leasing a terminal is a major investment for merchants. As with any major purchasing decision, they will only buy if you can show them tangible benefits. These benefits include:


Wireless terminals offer the convenience of mobility at the lower card-swiped rates; this is the strongest selling point. However, many merchants are apprehensive about the reliability and security of wireless terminals, so overcome their objections by stressing the data encryption and quick approval features that are standard capabilities on the most recent wireless models.

No More Land Lines

Another key selling point: For retail storefront merchants, a wireless terminal eliminates the need for a traditional land line.

Larger merchants likely have one or more lines reserved for card machines to dial out; however, smaller merchants are growing tired of annoyed customers waiting at the checkout on a busy phone line that prevents the authorization of credit card transactions.

In addition, merchants who exhibit at trade shows or flea markets are likely paying $100 a day for telephone access. After only a few months, a wireless terminal might effectively pay for itself as the fees for land lines (in-store or in-booth) can be quite expensive.

Safe and Secure

For merchants who make a large number of sales on the road, processing wireless is simply a safer way to do business. Transactions are encrypted and processed securely. Merchants traveling alone, staying in hotels or moving from city to city every few days will find it simpler and more secure to carry a wireless terminal than a cash box or stack of personal checks.

Three Products in One

If price is a sticking point with a prospective customer, show them how a wireless terminal is an economical purchase, and you might close the deal. Many models, even the most compact styles, operate as mobile phones and printers as well as POS terminals, which effectively delivers three products to the customer for the price of one.

What's Next?

As wireless terminals increase in popularity, manufacturers expand their technological capabilities, response times, and coverage areas and decrease their footprint for maximum portability. Many current models are small enough to fit in the palm of a merchant's hand.

New global packet radio service (GPRS) terminals transfer data at a lightning-speed of up to 171.2 kilobits per second, which is triple the speed of dial-up terminals.

For merchants who process many transactions in a day, and customers who grow increasingly impatient with long wait times for transaction authorization, the added speed of wireless processing makes a GRPS mobile terminal the most technologically advanced, consumer friendly processing product on the market.

(Other data transmittal options, including circuit switched data and short message service, offer similar security levels but process data at lower speeds.)

Many newer wireless terminals also use Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, similar to the type used in most mobile phones.

The SIM card stores user information and identifies each terminal on the wireless network; this data storage makes it easy for a service provider to track and identify specific terminals experiencing technical difficulties.

Our comfort level with wireless phones has grown to the point that we have integrated them into almost every aspect of our home and business lives. Many consumers in urban areas have abandoned land lines altogether in their homes and offices.

I fully expect a similar development in adoption of wireless terminals among merchants as the technology continues to improve and more merchants join the wireless revolution. Of course, a strong market still exists for dial-up terminals, but wireless technology is inevitably poised to become the wave of the future for processors, merchants and consumers everywhere.

Javier Bension is the Manager of Technical Services for Cynergy Data, where he has worked for more than eight years. Cynergy Data provides a wide array of electronic payment processing services while continually striving to develop new solutions that meet the needs of its agents and merchants.
Founded in 1995 by Marcelo Paladini and John Martillo, Cynergy Data strives to be a new kind of acquirer with a unique mission: to constantly explore, understand and develop the products that ISOs and merchants need to be successful, and to back it up with honest, reliable and supportive service. For more information on Cynergy Data contact Nancy Drexler, Marketing Director, at .

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