Glenbrookers are often asked to contribute their thoughts on payment trends. Co-founder Allen Weinberg is no exception. Here’s his take on the latest trends at the point of sale as he shared it with TSYS’ n>genuity journal.
What is happening at the point of sale, and why is it so important?
There are a number of changes going on at the point of sale (POS). The changing landscape includes the introduction of chip, NFC, Apple Pay, cloud-based/Internet-connected terminals and integrated POS systems, point-to-point encryption, in-aisle checkout, and the notion of “merchant app stores.”
Can you step back for a second and give us a sense of where we were in the past and the problems this posed for the ecosystem?
Back in 2004 or so, we operated in what I call a “brittle” POS environment. On one project, we were helping a client pilot the first open-loop contactless payment systems, which was particularly difficult and time-consuming. Contactless readers had to be added to POS terminals, and the terminal software had to be upgraded.
Back then, a huge percentage of the devices out there were proprietary hardware running proprietary software on proprietary operating systems. It was very difficult not only to make the changes, but also simply to download the updates onto the devices. The merchant had to take the terminals offline, manually initiate a download sequence, and pray that it all worked – hardly ideal. We’ve come a long way since.
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