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.

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.”

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.

Smart Cards: Are They Safe?

Smart Card

A smart card is a device that includes an embedded integrated circuit chip (ICC) that can be either a secure microcontroller or equivalent intelligence with internal memory or a memory chip alone. The card connects to a reader with direct physical contact or with a remote contactless radio frequency interface. Smart card technology is available in many different forms including  plastic cards, key fobs, and watches, among others. Using magnetic or electromagnetic fields to both power the card as well as to exchange data with the reader, information is stored on a chip embedded within the contactless smart card. The chip is not powered on until the card is brought into the electromagnetic field of the reader. Once the chip is powered on, a wireless communication protocol is initiated and established between the card and the reader for data transfer.

 

Smart cards provide a robust set of encryption capabilities including key generation, secure key storage, hashing, and digital signing. These capabilities can be used by a system to protect privacy in a number of ways. For example, a smart card system can produce a digital signature for the content in an email, providing a means to validate the email authenticity. This protects the email message from subsequently being tampered with and provides the email recipient with an assurance of where it originated. The fact that the signing key originated from a smart card adds credibility to the origin and intent of the signer.

 

Smart cards provide a means of secure communications between the card and card readers. Similar in concept to security protocols used in many networks, this feature allows smart cards to send and receive data in a secure and private manner. This capability can be used by a system to enhance privacy by ensuring that data sent to and from the card is not intercepted or tapped into.

 

Many of today’s smart cards have been certified that they comply with industry and government security standards. They obtain these certifications only after completing rigorous testing and evaluation criteria by independent certification facilities. These certifications help systems protect privacy by ensuring that the security and privacy features and functions of the smart card hardware and software operate as specified and intended.

 

Information provided by smartcardalliance.org

The Buzz On a New Alarm System!

A POS buzzer can work as either a print or cash drawer alarm. This means that when it’s plugged into the back of any Epson TM series printer, it sends out an audible alarm whenever a slip is printed or when the cash drawer stays open for too long. Although a cash drawer is not required for the buzzer system, when used in conjunction, an alarm can be triggered when the drawer is left open for a selected period of time and then again once the drawer is closed. These systems are compact and easy to mount which make them ideal for noisy restaurants and bars, as well as retail or other service industry environments. A POS buzzer system is easy to install and is compatible with most printers.

printalarm

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase a POS Buzzer, please visit http://www.beaglehardware.com/printbuzzer.html.

Interface Differences

Nowadays, printers have millions of different ports and plugs on them that help transmit different information from a bunch of different gadgets. Here we try to help make things a little easier when trying to decide which interface is best for your printer.

 

Serial Interface

Serial interfaces transfer information in or out one bit at a time. Data has been traditionally  transferred through serial ports to devices such as modems, terminals and various peripherals. Serial ports are used in applications such as industrial automation systems, scientific instruments, point of sale systems and some industrial and consumer products. Server computers may use a serial port as a control console for diagnostics. Network equipment (such as routers and switches) often use serial console for configuration. Serial ports are used in these areas as they are simple, cheap and their console functions are highly standardized and widespread. A serial port requires very little supporting software from the host system.

Serial Interface

 

Parallel Interface

Also known as a printer port, parallel interfaces were primarily designed to operate a line printer that used IBM’s 8-bit extended ASCII character set to print text, but could also be used to adapt other peripherals. Graphical printers, along with a host of other devices, have been designed to communicate with the system.

Parallel Interface

 

USB Interface

USB, which stands for Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard for short-distance digital data communications. USB interfaces allows data to be transferred between devices and can also supply electric power across the cable to devices without their own power source. USB can also allow stand-alone electronic devices to be connected via cables to a computer (or to each other).

USB Interface

 

Ethernet Interface

Ethernet Networking Interface, or ENI, allows any computer on Ethernet network to access controllers allowing users to send production data, alarm messages, or status information to computers, cellular phones, or pagers capable of receiving e-mail. The ENI module allows companies to leverage existing cable, hubs, switches, and routers already installed in facilities.

Ethernet Interface

 

To learn more about Interface Cards, including IDN Interface Cards, please visit http://www.beaglehardware.com/micros.html#Interface_Cards.