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Choosing a Mobile Point-of-Sale Solution: Clearing Away the Confusion

Choosing a Mobile Point-of-Sale Solution: Clearing Away the Confusion

The age of mobile is upon us, bringing unprecedented opportunities and challenges. In fact, Transparency Market Research has forecast a 38% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the global mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) market between 2015 and 2024. The opportunities to create greater customer experiences via easy and quick payment are many, but one of the challenges lies in finding the mPOS solution that matches business needs.

The current expansion of the mPOS market speaks to the large number of solutions on offer. Few, if any, solutions have everything you want and nothing you don’t. Since there are so many options out there, merchants find themselves doing an overwhelming amount of research hoping to end up with a suitable mobile solution. Fortunately, this decision-making process can be made far less agonizing by focusing on a few specific criteria. These are the factors that should never be compromised when evaluating which mPOS solution will be best for your organization.

Payments Security At no other time in the history of commerce has security been so crucial. It is one of the most important factors to consider when introducing new technologies into your merchant environment. It is the single most important factor you should consider in prospective mPOS solutions. You can have the most innovative, flashy payment processing solution, but none of that matters if it isn’t secure.

Look for a solution that will keep your customers’ payment information secure – no matter what. With security solutions like tokenization and point-to-point encryption (P2PE), a competitive mPOS solution will ensure that you never store, process, or transmit sensitive payment card data – protecting your brand from the damaging effects of a data breach.

Tailoring – A small boutique may only need to account for one state tax; by contrast, a large restaurant chain requires different tax rates applied to items like alcohol, gift cards and food. Merchants with complex menu items may need the ability to add modifiers, such as cooking instructions (rare, medium rare, burned to a crisp, etc.) and include notes for things like food allergies. And what about customizing default tip settings? Mobile payments should fit your business – not the other way around. A truly customizable mPOS solution will allow merchants to get as in-depth as they need to, or keep things simple. An mPOS solution with such a flexible feature set can easily grow with your business.

Convenient Management –The size of the business has significant bearing on solution choice. Some mPOS solutions are great for businesses with just a few revenue centers, but they lack the potential to grow with the business. For larger businesses, merchants need a mobile solution that can handle the scale and volume of their enterprise and allows them to manage their various revenue centers from one convenient account.

In addition, a flexible solution should make it easy for you and your managers to quickly add or disable any employee’s access and permissions. It should enable merchants to view and report on transaction data in real time. Large or small, merchants need an mPOS solution that allows them to conveniently monitor and manage their system anywhere, anytime.

Customer Ease – Mobile payments are becoming an increasing expectation for customers. In addition to a standard brick-and-mortar store or restaurant, places like kiosks, concert venues and food trucks are becoming perfect locations for mobile revenue centers. Customers have countless choices when it comes to their purchasing decisions, and employing an mPOS solution that makes the payment process simpler, more convenient and flexible for them will go a long way toward ensuring they’re spending those dollars with your business.

Device-Agnostic and Neutral Consider which bank and/or processor you want to use before signing with a solution provider. Some mPOS systems pigeonhole merchants into using a specific bank, processor or both. Your business needs constantly change and evolve over time, so being stuck with a specific bank or processor means you may be unable to negotiate for the best rates and services as your objectives shift. Your best bet is choosing an mPOS solution that is bank- and processor-neutral, as well as device-agnostic.

Consider the real-life example of a resort hotel. The staff at the reservation desk has different needs than those selling drinks at the pool. Merchants need a solution that enables them to customize the configurations of each revenue center with countless combinations of devices, banks and processors. When selecting an mPOS, having the freedom to set up each terminal with the hardware and bank/processor relationship that works best for each of your various revenue centers is critical. Being able to use your existing payment devices means you save hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars that would have gone toward uprooting your payment infrastructure and starting from scratch.

The mobile revolution has seeped into every corner of daily life, and merchants need to embrace the technology quickly – but safely. As multiple data breaches over the past few years have proven, security issues can wreak havoc on a company’s profit sheet. But there are other considerations, too, and following the guidelines above will help you to more easily sort through the many mPOS options to one that fits the needs of your business.

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by Jeremy Fried // A serial entrepreneur with a proven background in software architecture and development, with over eight years of experience in the finance and electronic payment industries. Jeremy joined Shift4 in 2010 and is the overall architect for Shift4's award-winning VT4® mobile point-of-sale system.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.