by Ms. Bekiroglu
Is your family business needing an upgrade in point of sales methods? Ms. Bekiroglu summarizes some of the latest and greatest below.
Since the first point-of-sale software was introduced by Microsoft in the 1990s, merchant account payment option technologies have expanded dramatically. Now we have payment kiosks, self-checkout stations, touchscreen interfaces, near-field-communications, RFID chips in merchandise, smart chips in smartphones, and even card readers that plug into those smartphones. Keeping up with it all, and making the best choices has become as much a matter of understanding the latest tech as actually knowing your own business!
Chip based credit cards.
The one technology on the horizon that will become the merchant account payment option standard in coming months is the chip-based credit card. This technology is closely intertwined with NFC and smartphones. Shoppers will literally be able to wave their phone at a scanner rather than transferring account payment information stored on the now old-fashioned magnetic stripe. The data used in this transaction is single use, making them the most secure payments currently available.
Already the standard in Europe, the drive to bring chip-based cards to the United States has been largely fueled by the need to crack down on fraud and identity theft. Also, American businessmen traveling abroad are at a distinct disadvantage with their old-style magnetic cards. For merchants, these new technologies will also allow for broader analysis of consumer taste and behavior for better loyalty rewards and coupon programs, often linked to online social networking activities that further advertise the goods and services being sold.
New payment services players.
New players in the payment services field offering lower entry costs to small merchants include Square, Google Checkout, Intuit GoPayment, and now PayPal here. With the ability to pair small mobile card readers with smartphones, businesses can ensure that their employees can take payment anywhere, anytime, which has tremendous potential for never missing a sale. At the same time, however, there are concerns about appropriate levels of security and encryption.
Traditional point-of-sale methods are still dominant in physical locations, but that’s changing rapidly. Already terminals are appearing in big box retail stores to facilitate smart card behavior, and applications available for the Android and iPhone operating systems are changing how people manage their money — even how they split the check at dinner out with friends.
While many of these methods are simply the natural evolution of a technology key to day-to-day business transactions, they are also a response to fraud and identity theft. As the thieves get smarter, the card processors come back with better security and encryption methods. One thing is for certain, however, magnetic stripe cards are no longer secure, and are rapidly being supplanted by better payment options and systems.
Ms. Bekiroglu is an author, freelance writer and editorial consultant for mobilepaymentgeek.com. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida, she became determined to eliminate her student loan debt, thus becoming very knowledgeable about money management. Now she seeks to educate others with tips in both personal and business finance.
Do you use mobile technology in your business? What do you use and how is it beneficial?