By Hervé Thevenin, Global Marketing Manager Vertical Sales at Worldline.
It is expected that the total number of merchants deploying Software Point Of Sales (SoftPOS) solutions will exceed 34.5 million worldwide in the next five years with growth driven by Apple’s entry into the space, enabling more users to find an affordable POS solution.
In this article, I will give my opinion about how this will continue to be reflected in the sales process.
What is SoftPOS?
In short, the SoftPOS solution allows any NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet to be turned into an authorized payment terminal. To add, no additional hardware is required, only software. This technology can be applied to Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices or “business devices”. These are Android OS devices some companies make mainly for the purpose of their business customers, and where, later, others, such as Zebra Technologies, Toshiba, Diebold Nixdorf, among many others can be added.
Other tech giants have taken a step towards SoftPOS. As I said at the beginning, Apple announced the launch of a solution that can turn the IOS device into a payment center in February 2022, a solution available to merchants of all types in the US. Likewise, Visa & Mastercard have already developed their own certification/licensing solution, which is available in Europe.
Implementing the SoftPOS solution on a smart device will make it compliant with all PCI standards required for payment processing. This includes the PCI Contactless Payments on COTS (CPoC) Standard, which was established in 2019 and prevents device payments beyond the contactless limit (with the exception of dedicated programs such as Visa and/or Mastercard) that can be used to connect.
Recently, in November 2022, PCI launched its latest solution – Mobile Payments on COTS (MPoC) which combines the latest requirements in the development of SoftPOS technology to allow merchants to accept contactless payments on COTS devices, with PIN (Personal Identification Number) and PAN (Primary. Account Number) in the mirror of the amount exceeding the contactless limit.
Good for customers
SoftPOS is undoubtedly a type of technology that responds to the needs and wants of customers. There are many sectors that can benefit from it, but without a doubt retail companies (purchases and specials) can be seen as good companies where the SoftPOS technology has many cases of use and benefits: countermeasures, support sales, pop-up. stores, queuing, payment on delivery, etc.
For example, customers are using their smartphones every day to choose and buy products and services online, while SoftPOS enables a seamless and seamless payment journey while you save. Indeed, customers will be able to pay for their goods easily and directly from vendors with SoftPOS payment terminals, helping them avoid queues.
A safe and reliable payment method
There are many other situations in which this technology supports payment / checkout processes, to the benefit of the user who does not have to wait and pay immediately after the purchase, carelessly and easily. Besides, there has been a huge rise in the number of contactless payments over the past few years, making it a safe and reliable payment method.
In addition, SoftPOS offers the opportunity to improve business opportunities: unlimited channels and sales support. Specifically, by offering the opportunity to pay directly where the product is in the store – or should be, for example, unlimited opportunities.
Due to the strong customer authentication (SCA) EU directive, multi-factor authentication is required when it comes to electronic payments. A smartphone provides this security, either through biometrics and/or a verification code. Also, when the customer uses their mobile phone, the card details are not transmitted but instead are exchanged through tokenisation. As a result, I truly believe that security is equal, if not better than terminals.
Beyond its simplicity, another thing that makes SoftPOS interesting is that merchants are always looking for new tools to convert their customers and reduce costs. We strongly believe that SoftPOS will do just that.
The technology is still in its infancy and as such, the best business solution for merchants involves the integration of SoftPOS with traditional payment systems. At least this time, when technology will benefit from other developments in the next few years. Therefore, it is difficult to predict what will happen in the future. Looking at the current situation, as of today, it seems that there is nothing to stop SoftPOS from surpassing traditional payment methods at some point. The important question is, when will this happen?
Having said that, we can see early adoption from many traders already. I’ve been talking to big retailers at major industry events, like Paris Retail Week, and I get the feeling that they’re very interested in this technology, and that it’s going to work alongside traditional payment platforms.
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