What’s new in payment terminals?

August 05, 2019

Owning and operating a successful business today means keeping up with rapid advances in hardware and software. Keeping up with consumers’ payment preferences is essential to attracting and retaining customers.

Advances in technology mean those payment preferences are evolving rapidly, especially at the point of sale. So let’s take a look at what’s new in payment terminals and the landscape of options available for in-store payment acceptance.

How credit card terminals survive—and thrive

Stand-alone credit card terminals have been a fixture in payment acceptance for decades. Small, compact, affordable and reliable, credit card terminals continue to serve the needs of businesses everywhere.

Credit card terminals today are safer and more convenient than ever. Even the most basic credit card terminals can accept secure EMV “chip-and-PIN” cards and contactless and mobile payments via NFC. Behind the scenes secure technologies like tokenization deliver modern security in a simple, durable package.

Advantages: Credit card terminals are great for any business that needs simple, affordable, familiar and reliable payment terminals to accept electronic payments.

Disadvantages: Credit card terminals are simple by design, but with simplicity come limits on features and functionality. Your business may need more advanced solutions.

What makes smart terminals so smart?

Today businesses depend on business productivity software more than ever. How well those systems perform depends not just on their quality individually, but how they work together as a whole.

Smart terminals extend the functionality of standard credit card terminals to include access to businesses productivity software. Smart terminals are available with graphic touch-screen interfaces and tools to manage loyalty programs, record employee hours and payroll, capture sales analytics, manage inventory and more.

Advantages: Smart terminals combine the simplicity of credit card terminals with access to essential modern software. Smart terminals offer access to tolls and technologies that help your business grow, without the larger commitment of a fully-integrated point of sale system.

Disadvantages: Integrated POS choices are often better-suited for businesses in the industries with robust POS system options, like restaurants and retail.

Integrated POS systems to power your business

An integrated point of sale (POS) system combines the functionality of a robust point of sale credit card terminal with other essential business systems, like customized inventory and pricing, accounting and inventory. “Integrated” means the payment processor’s software is directly built into the POS system to ensure perfect compatibility and ease of use.

POS systems are highly customizable, and can be adjusted as the business grows and changes. POS systems act as a “mission control” for restaurants, retail, service and other industries. Many integrated POS systems come with sleek touchscreen graphic interfaces that allow both employees and customers to conduct transactions with ease—even elegance.

Payment acceptance is an essential building block of these hardware and software ecosystems. If you work in a consumer-facing industry it’s likely there are integrated POS systems designed specifically for businesses like yours. Software updates are typically automated or scheduled at seamless times for your business operations making maintenance seamless.

Advantages: Speed, convenience, ease-of-use and seamless integration of payments and other essential software. The best integrated POS systems deliver state-of-the-art software backed by secure, reliable payment processing.

Disadvantages: Older POS systems often required large, inflexible hardware. The cost of customized point of sale software was often beyond the reach of many smaller businesses. Today that’s changing with integrated POS systems available within virtually every budget.

Smartphones and tablets—the new mobile payment terminals

Smartphones and tablets have completely transformed the way businesses interact with their customers, especially when is comes to payment acceptance. While payment acceptance with smartphones and tablets may evoke images of a street fair, trade show or food trucks, smartphones and tablets are increasingly popular as a payment terminal in-store.

In the restaurant industry, more and more eateries are discovering the benefits of installing at-table, tablet point of sale systems that allow customers to order food and even pay their bill. Smartphones and tablets can be used to avoid or alleviate long lines by allowing your staff to instantly turn their smartphones into payment terminals.

Today's smartphone and tablets can be turned into point of sale solutions with a simple app download and perhaps a single peripheral, like a credit card reader or "dongle.” These mobile payment systems allow you to accept credit and debit card payments within, around and beyond your own store.

Advantages: Tablets and smartphones have become intuitive, universally-understood tools that almost everyone can operate with ease. Tablets and smartphones are most everywhere—the number of smartphone users is expected to surpass 2.5 billion in 2019—and they’re more affordable every day. This consistency of experience and virtually guaranteed ease-of-use is invaluable, especially when it comes to payments.

Disadvantages: Accepting payment on-the-go will never be as easy as a purpose-designed point of sale. Even this disadvantage is being eased by software that makes accepting payments easier than ever, even in trying conditions.

Should my business accept smartphone payments?

The answer to that question is increasingly “yes.” US consumers have been slow to adopt using smartphone payments, but the tipping points for adoption are piling up fast:

  • Worldpay’s 2019 US Consumer Behavior Report found that almost two-thirds (66%) of US consumers believe that smartphones will replace plastic credit and debit cards as the main method of payment within the next five years
  • eMarketer estimates that over 61 million US consumers will make a mobile proximity payment in 2019
  • In June 2019 the first stages of a program to enable mobile payments on the New York City Subway system were rolled out by the MTA. OMNY is the MTA’s contactless payment program that aims to replace fare cards by 2023

Advantages: Accepting payment via mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay is easy. NFC contactless technology is built-in to the vast majority of new and recently-issued credit card terminals, integrated point of sale systems and other payment terminals. Accepting mobile payments is an intuitive, safe, and an increasingly important way serve your customers.

Disadvantages: Simply put, accepting smartphone payments via mobile wallets makes sense for almost every business imaginable.

Virtual terminals

Virtual terminals are another way businesses can supplement their existing payment acceptance strategy. Virtual terminals allow you to turn a laptop or desktop computer into a fully-compliant payment terminal that can accept credit and debit cards with a standard web browser.

Virtual terminals are perfect for processing one-time payments and recurring payments like subscriptions. Virtual terminals are the payment terminal of choice for securely processing mail order and telephone order (MOTO) transactions. Virtual terminals are also a handy backup in the unlikely event your primary point of sale is interrupted.

Advantages: Virtual terminals are often an affordable, safe and convenient option for processing a wide variety of payment types and serving your customers more efficiently.

Disadvantages: Virtual terminals can help out in a pinch, but they shouldn’t be used as a primary tool for serving customers. Consumer-facing payment acceptance needs are much better served by credit card terminals, integrated POS systems and other solutions.

Worldpay enables virtually every type of payment your customers want to make—anywhere, anytime, anyway. Connect with one of our payment experts to learn more about payment terminals, and how your business can start accepting credit card payments today.