sick-card-491713_1920

Are New Payment Technologies Good for Retailers?

Over the years, payment processing technologies have undergone significant changes.

Today, the internet and mobile devices are causing bigger shifts than ever before. While many resist these changes, others embrace them.

Every business will be affected by new POS technologies and payment solutions, so it’s important to know which direction the industry is headed.

A Brief History of the POS Industry: From Credit Cards to Today

Beginning in the 1950s, credit cards and point-of-sale technology revolutionized the retail industry.

Since that time, we’ve seen a few major evolutions in the industry:

Credit and debit cards boosted sales for retailers.

Credit cards really took off in the 1950s and 1960s, with the establishment of a revolving credit system and the introduction of a debit card. Point-of-sale devices arrived soon after and allowed merchants and retailers to accept payments via these cards.

With these new technologies in the marketplace, the use of cash and check decreased, credit and debit payments increased, and the number of transactions also increased. Over the intervening decades, credit and debit POS systems have become standard for most retailers in the developed world.

Retailers who adopted POS technologies often saw more sales as a result.

Smartphones are poised to revolutionize the payment ecosystem even more.

Mobile wallets give customers the ability to pay directly from their smartphone, without the need for cards, cash, or checks. This new technology offers a number of benefits to customers and businesses.

Not only are mobile wallets more convenient, some argue that they are actually more secure than credit cards. POS terminals that utilize near field communications (NFC) will allow merchants to accept payments via mobile wallets, but there are several obstacles to widespread adoption, such as upgrade costs and security concerns.

Increased rates of fraud are pushing more stringent security measures in the POS industry.

Fraud continues to be a worldwide problem. Between 2007 and 2014, credit card fraud doubled – and 37% of this fraud came in the form of counterfeit cards. EMV cards and chip-enabled POS devices are designed to fight this problem.

Another solution is the aforementioned mobile wallet. Traditional credit cards use a person’s signature as a security measure – but how often do retail staff compare card signatures against receipts? A mobile wallet that requires a fingerprint, on the other hand, is much more difficult to counterfeit.

Conclusion: Complexity Slows Adoption Rates, But Change Is Inevitable

The payment processing chain has become quite complicated and involves merchants, banks, credit card companies, software providers, and more.

Concerns over fraud, upgrade costs, profit margins, and adoption rates are preventing immediate acceptance of these new technologies.

However, as POS security systems continue improve – and the potential profits of these new technologies becomes clearer – we can expect to see another revolution in the way merchants and customers perform transactions.

sky-690293_1920

Top 3 Benefits of Choosing a Cloud-Based POS System

Running a company is complex business – owners need to be concerned with a variety of day-to-day functions, such as accounting, inventory management, and marketing…just for starters.

What if you could streamline and automate a huge chunk of your operations through one unified system?

Cloud-based POS systems give you that chance…

Here are 3 of the many benefits that come with choosing cloud-based POS systems:

1. Speed & Efficiency

Most stores and establishments are sure to attract a variety of customers and clientele.

Despite these customers’ individual differences, however, there’s one thing they can all agree on…a dislike for long lines at check-out.

Making the switch to a cloud-based POS system allows your employees to work at greater speeds than ever before. They will also have more available product information which helps them better assist customers.

With increased speed, you might expect a greater number of mistakes, but that’s not the case.

Unlike traditional cash registers, cloud-based POS systems handle the bulk of the work so that employees don’t have to spend as much time worried about inventory discrepancies and sales issues.

2. Extensive Data and Reporting Capability

We’ve entered a digital age where files and paperwork are a thing of the past. POS systems have all of the capabilities needed to organize your business and automate previously time-consuming tasks.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about…

  • Sales Trends
  • Inventory
  • Or Customer Information

…cloud-based POS systems offer in-depth reports that give you greater insight into the inner workings of your business. This type of information can give you a competitive edge, reduce waste, reduce errors, and increase efficiency.

Cloud-based systems even allow you to pull up this information on your mobile device. So no matter where you are, you have direct access to all of this data.

3. Freed-Up Resources

With these advanced POS systems automating much of the work that consumed your time before, you and your staff are free to handle other business tasks.

By employing a payment processor you can trust to handle these line items with accuracy, you will have the time and confidence needed to focus on other areas of your business.

Technology is giving every business the opportunity to automate, evolve, and scale. These systems will give you the opportunity to do just that.

iphone-624709_1920

Why Businesses Are Slow to Jump on the Mobile Wallet Bandwagon

It’s been over five years since Google released their first version of a mobile wallet, and since then many other companies have followed suit.

Here are a few of the bigger companies jumping on board the mobile wallet bandwagon:

  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Walmart
  • Chase Bank

Mobile wallets provide consumers with the ease of using a smartphone as their main source of payment – eliminating the need for traditional wallets, plastic debit/credit cards, and cash. The idea makes perfect sense, yet the majority of shoppers have not jumped onto the bandwagon.

Of all the technological developments that are taking place, what seems to be wrong with this one?

David Salisbury of Star Cloud Services has a few ideas:

 

1. Retailer Acceptance

If the hope is for consumers to use their mobile device as a universal payment platform, then retailers and businesses would need to participate.

However, many business owners have not made the switch to POS systems that accept mobile wallets. Or, if they have, they may only accept certain versions.

For a business to convert its existing POS system, it would have to apply updates that can get quite expensive. Many small business owners simply don’t have the funds necessary to adapt to this necessity.

2. Inability to Store Picture ID & Other Vital Card Information

When it comes to shopping, consumers have more to worry about than cash or credit.

An individual’s wallet may hold dozens of different card types at any given time, including:

  • Driver’s License, or Picture ID
  • Individual Store Credit Cards
  • Shopping Reward Program Cards

Until a mobile wallet is able to store all necessary information for any card type, it seems unlikely that shoppers will be getting rid of their billfolds.

3. Itemized Digital Receipts

Digital receipts that are received through mobile wallets don’t currently offer itemization.

This is problematic for both shoppers and retailers. The amount of time it will take to handle returns, exchanges, or other post-purchase questions would be much greater using digital wallet receipts.

In essence, they serve more as payment verification than anything else.

Conclusion: These Problems are Fixable

It seems quite likely that we’ll eventually see a major rise in mobile wallet usage, once these obstacles are overcome.

If developers consider the previous issues, consumers will be much more willing to use their products, and the entire process can be successfully streamlined.

book-1798

5 POS Terms You Should Know

When it comes to the ever-expanding world of POS systems, keeping up with the jargon can seem daunting.

However, to keep up with the changes in POS technology, it’s a good idea to learn some of the latest terminology.

1. mPOS (mobile POS)

mPOS refers to using any mobile device in the same way that you would use a traditional, stationary POS system.

Any of these electronic devices can be transformed into a mPOS by downloading an app created by companies like Square or PayPal. An mPOS system can be a cost-effective way for small business owners to handle their retail transactions.

2. PCI (Payment Card Industry)

PCI refers to the collection of security standards that have been put into effect by the Payment Card Industry to protect customers during their use of various POS systems.

These policies directly apply to any company or organization that accepts payments through the use of credit and/or debit cards.

3. NFC (Near Field Communication)

NFC works by placing two objects within close range of each other in order to use them.

Utilizing radio communication, this recently developed technology has been a game-changer in the retail world.

Mobile payment systems like the following make use of NFC technology:

  • Apple Pay
  • Samsung Pay
  • Android Pay

4. mCommerce (Mobile Commerce)

Also known as e-commerce, this term covers any transaction that is handled online through electronic devices like:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops

When customers are using their mobile devices to purchase from online markets like Amazon and Ebay, they are taking full advantage of mCommerce retail.

5. IoT (Internet of Things)

IoT is an acronym that refers to the “Internet of Things.” This term refers to the collection of everyday objects and devices that have the ability to send and receive information to one another.

Such machine-to-machine (M2M) communication will allow virtually any electronic device, from a refrigerator to a cell phone to a security camera, to communicate with other devices. In turn, these devices will be connected to the internet, enabling revolutions in POS and other business software systems.

central-embassy-498560_1920

Study Finds that More Personalized POS Provides More Profit

A recent study performed by Forrester Consulting explains that a retail store or restaurant’s future success ties directly into their usage of integrated POS systems.

In our technologically advanced marketplace, a POS system should extend beyond monetary transactions.

By updating the digital usage within a business’ physical location, businesses can achieve a number of benefits:

  •      Improved customer experience and interaction
  •      Employees that are better equipped and more prepared
  •      Enhanced flow of operations
  •      Access to increased data sources

Ability to Better Serve Customers

In a pool of 150 surveys:

  • 87% of the respondents declared that they are interested in tablet-based POS systems as a means of improving employee-customer interactions
  • 93% believe that it is essential to integrate a digital experience into physical locations.

As technology advances and provides better customer experiences, consumers and shoppers are becoming more demanding.

Today’s customers expect employees to have thorough knowledge about the business, including inventory and other options. The majority survey respondents also note that their digital presence has become a direct extension of their physical one. This leads to an increased desire to utilize digitized options within retail shopping and dining.

The following are some of the most common expectations that business owners and employees are being forced to try and meet:

  •      Ability to check store inventory, including that of other locations
  •      Ability to fulfill restaurant and shopping orders both tableside and in store aisles
  •      Rapid checkout procedures
  •      Increased customer security assurances
  •      Access to customer profile and purchase history
  •      Capacity to recommend items and selections

Making the Move to Advanced POS Systems

The vast majority of decision makers who were surveyed also recognized that advanced POS systems positioned them to better meet the needs of today’s customers.

Just as the customer is looking for improvements in their shopping experience, though, businesses face a number of concerns when making the switch to integrated POS systems.

  •      High costs
  •      System Reliability
  •      Customer education
  •      Ease of use

All things considered, our society is on the cusp of a major transitional movement.

Customers are more educated and hyper-aware of what is available, while businesses are working dutifully to meet their evolving needs. It will be interesting to see what the next few years will bring in terms of customer-employee interaction.

account-1778

Why the Switch to EMV Remains Slow – And How You Can Stay Secure

Banks have converted around 60% of their debit and credit cards to EMV cards, which are more secure than traditional magnetic strip technology. These cards generate a random number at the time of the transaction, making them much more difficult to counterfeit than traditional credit cards.

Although the United States is responsible for about 50% of fraud worldwide, the changeover remains slow.

Most of the big retail chains, such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, have already converted to the EMV-enabled POS systems. Small businesses that use simple systems have also converted.

However, about 42% of businesses – most of which are mid-sized companies – haven’t made the switch. And, among those companies that have switched, they still run into problems.

In fact, according to some industry reports, 4 out of 5 EMV-enabled card readers aren’t able to accept chipped credit cards.

What’s Causing the Delay?

There are several reasons for this:

  • One problem isn’t the hardware – it’s the software. In order to be able to accept chipped cards, custom POS software must become certified by each of the credit card companies as well as merchant banks. Becoming compliant takes time and only causes more delays.
  • Another problem is the fact that debit cards are processed differently from credit cards. Since these two types of cards are processed differently, it only makes software updates more complex and time-consuming.
  • Also, the EMV credit cards allow anyone to sign for a transaction. Since there is no verification for the signature, this still doesn’t prevent fraud.

What You Can Do to Stay Secure

In the future, we will be able to use these chipped cards with PIN numbers, which will be even more secure than signatures. Implementing this layer of security, though, is a hurdle in and of itself, and will take even more time and money.

Until then, what can you do to make sure you are as secure as possible?

Pat O’Boyle, from MSP Consulting, has this suggestion:

“Pull out the piece for credit card acceptance to get it EMV ready, so you don’t eat all that risk. Then once your POS vendor is EMV ready and you’ve upgraded with all the right tools in place, then put the EMV payment back into the overall system.”

ipad-820272_1920

We’re Living in a Mobile POS World

The tech-savvy consumers of today have a deep love for their devices…and we, as businesses, are right there with them.

Society has reached a golden age where nearly everything can be completed through the use of a cell phone. You can order a pizza, manage your bank account, and watch movies on the go. It’s no surprise that cell phones have commonly become a digital alternative to traditional POS systems.

At the end of 2015, there were more than six million mobile POS terminals being used by businesses all over the world. The popularity of these systems continues to grow on a daily basis and is changing the way companies are handling their transactions.

Mobile POS Systems like Square and Pay Pal Here, allow businesses the luxury of accepting credit card payments in locations where they ordinarily wouldn’t have been able. For instance, maybe you don’t have access to a traditional transaction terminal. Or maybe you don’t have the need for one. These mobile systems provide a sense of flexibility to business owners and employees while still offering customers the convenience of using their credit and/or debit cards.

In terms of competition, Square and Pay Pal Here are pretty comparable to one other. Each system offers a variety of different benefits that are necessary components of an ideal POS terminal.

Here are just a few of the great features you’ll receive from both of them:

Basic Hardware Needs

With Square and Pay Pal Here, all you need to get started is a smartphone or tablet. When you sign up with either of these services, you’ll receive a free basic mag strip card reader (you can upgrade to an EMV reader for a small fee.) The services also come with a free app to handle your transactions.

Amazing Operator Services

Both mobile POS services offer great features such as multiple user authorization and receipt printer compatibility. Individually, they each offer unique services that set them apart, as well:

  • Pay Pal Here has a great photo capture card acceptance method.
  • Square offers an incredibly useful offline mode that works for businesses no matter what their Internet situation is.

No Contracts or Early Termination Fees

Neither Square nor Pay Pal Here requires any sort of contract or monthly fee. You have the flexibility to change services at any point without the risk of fees and/or penalties.

Square and Pay Pal Here: Two Great Choices for Mobile POS Services

When it comes to selecting the best mobile POS service for your company, there are so many different options available. Both Square and Pay Pal have been around for quite some time and offer reliable services that you can trust. Their fantastic features provide an experience consumers can trust in, and business owners a terminal they can rely on.  So step on into this mobile era…the perfect POS service is waiting for you.

7 Ways to Prevent Data Theft

In the past 12 months, we have seen data breaches from large companies such as Target, Home Depot and Staples. Big banks and health care systems have also been victims of cyber attacks. With technology always advancing, these attacks will continue to happen. Below are some tips to help prevent and minimize the chances of a data breach for you and your company.

1. Frequently change pins and passwords to personal accounts.

By doing so, you can help keep track of which websites have your information saved on them and how long that information has been saved.

 

2. Constantly monitor all financial accounts for suspicious activity.

Although we now live in the digital age and primarily use online banking, your chances decrease significantly if you also keep a written copy, such as a checkbook ledger, after making major transactions.

 

3. Properly dispose of sensitive data.

Make sure to shred any documents that are no longer needed that include important information such as social security or credit card numbers. Also make sure that those numbers aren’t saved on computers when you dispose of those as well.

 

4. Control physical access to business computers.

Give each employee their own login and username to prevent unauthorized use. Keep computers locked up during non-business hours.

 

5. Freeze credit cards in the case of suspicious activity.

This will make sure to protect your money while you figure out the situation.

 

6. Do not overshare on social media.

Whether it be for a company or personal, too much information can help making theft easier for the hacker. Wait to post comments or stories about a vacation until you are back home.

 

7. Keep software up to date.

Update software as soon as it is available for security and web browsers as they can detect security vulnerabilities.

 

Have you already been part of a security breach? What should you do now? First, do not panic. Get a copy of your credit report and double check for any unauthorized transactions. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, put a freeze to your account immediately. Then call issuer to dispute charges and obtain a new card. Finally, make sure to change all passwords and pins to prevent future situations.

New Digital Receipt App!

TSP100R-gray4x3Star Micronics has recently released their new digital receipt service, AllReceipts. Without the need of an email address, consumers are now able to get both a paper and digital receipt as soon as the transaction is completed. This new app that is available via the AppStore or GooglePlay and is free! AllReceipts includes a device management tool for retailers to provide real time status across the installed base of printers including different locations with refreshed error status notifications on a comprehensive cloud-based dashboard. The app also includes an “instant” customer satisfaction survey designed for retail and hospitality establishments the ability to access real time feedback based on the level of their customers’ satisfaction. AllReceipts is available on all Star Micronics TSP100 thermal receipt printer models.

 

For more information on TSP100 thermal receipt printer models, please visit http://www.beaglehardware.com/printers/100.html.

Pros & Cons of Mobile Payments

In today’s society, we’ve seen a huge switch in technology. We’ve ditched the cords for small chips that make things easier to do on the go. Companies such as Square, PayPal, and Intuit have all designed card readers that can be easily attached to smartphones and tablets, making it easy to pay for things anywhere, and at any time. Many people view these as inexpensive point of sale systems as an easier way to process credit card transactions, but with the easy accessibility comes processing fees and limited device compatibility.

Here are some pros and cons of using mobile payment apps:

Pros:

  • Simple navigation options
  • Can be accessible anywhere with wifi
  • Newest technology, giving access to up-to-date daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly reports
  • All digital and intriguing to millennials
  • Easy to set up mobile reward systems

Cons:

  • Can be small enough to misplace or big enough to become bulky
  • Must have wifi or Internet connection in order to function
  • Limited human tech support
  • Some may not be able to process cash efficiently
  • Too many custom features
  • Per swipe charge ranging from 1.7% to 3.5% depending on device

These devices are recommended for new businesses or businesses who deal more with online transactions rather than cash payments.