Twenty years ago, a payment terminal was little more than a calculator with a modem attached. A reseller could drop it off in a box at the merchant and that was pretty much it.
Over the years, the terminals have gained many features to make it easier for customers to pay and merchants to run their business, e.g. by allowing different types of payment, integrating with POS and handling loyalty schemes. Arguably the biggest improvement, however, has been in security. To keep customer and merchant information safe, both hardware and software now have to comply with stringent security standards that are regularly updated.
“There is a real responsibility that comes with supplying a payment terminal,” says Alex Castle of Eftco, a reseller for Skyzer.
The first is to make sure that the merchant gets a terminal that offers all the features they need at sensible cost. Then there is setting up the terminal, and potentially integrating it with one of the hundreds of different POS systems on the market.
“Our ability to work with POS suppliers is a critical skill. Merchants cannot do this themselves unless they have their own IT people, and even they could struggle with all the certifications and processes involved.”
Getting payments to work requires cooperation from the card scheme (e.g. Visa or Mastercard), banks, the payment processor and device supplier. Overlaid with this are integration with the different payment types (e.g. WeChat), loyalty schemes and possibly the merchant’s POS system.
Once the system is up and running, there is an ongoing requirement for security updates and complying with new security standards.
“Of course, as resellers, we also ensure that the terminals keep working as they should,” says Alex.
“About 85% of all reported issues can be resolved remotely. If that doesn’t work, we either provide a fully configured replacement machine by overnight courier, or we can have a technician on the spot on the same day, depending on the service level the merchant had chosen.”
Whatever payment terminal you choose as a merchant, one thing you don’t have to worry about is the complexity behind this crucial business service.