Can a payment terminal be smart?
REVOLUTION ON PAYMENT TERMINAL MARKET
Devices we know
It would seem that we cannot expect much from a terminal. For years it has been working and looking the same way: as a low-key, even a bit ugly device which we barely notice when we need to pay with a card. The basic functionality - payment acceptance - remains unchanged and... is basically the only one. Yes, today we use a chip or contactless card reader, but from the user's point of view, it is more of a detail: just another card movement. Similarly, the only cosmetic change was replacement of a small monochrome screen with a color screen. Not even much bigger.
Now, however, all of this may change.
Time of changes
Imagine that a terminal is no longer just a clumsy tool which tells you to „insert your card” and prints a payment confirmation. Imagine a device which welcomes your paying customer with a bespoken company greeting or an animation. Imagine that it also thanks the customer after successful transaction. A thank you screen that you choose: with your logo, promotion information or seasonable – for example for holidays.
And all this not on a tiny, "terminal" display, but on an effective 5- or 6-inch screen, straight from smartphones.
And imagine that – just as in smartphones – this greeting or an animation is only a tip of the iceberg. An advertisement of current special offers in your shop being displayed all the time by the registry? No problem. An impressive, corporate animation which makes the terminal more on brand with the rest of the interior? There you go. Combining the cash register and terminal functions in one device? Yes! Receiving and settling orders in your restaurant? Why not. Support for the loyalty program on a device that is both a cash register and a terminal? Of course, who said that the loyalty program is the domain of only the largest companies!
Theoretically, it would be possible to install any applications that we know from Android phones, but common sense tells us that devices in the store should not be used to check photos on Instagram or play Angry Birds or Among Us... Or maybe they should! Now you can really decide what else you would like to have on your unique Smart Terminal.
If such a description evokes associations with a smartphone, you would be quite right: terminals such as the Sunmi P2 series can be successfully described as a combination of the terminal and the smartphone. This is also how they look: like slim terminals with a dainty design, in which the keyboard is replaced by a large touch screen
However, the similarities with smartphones go much deeper. The heart of the device - or perhaps its soul - is a flexible operating system that you may know perfectly well from your phone: Android. It allows you to customize how the terminal looks and works, and thanks to Android OS the terminal can perform almost any function. All you need is the right application and ... that's it!
Exactly like a smartphone, this type of device unleashes its full potential only when the appropriate applications are installed on it. But where to get them?
A terminal in the store and a store in the terminal
Some of them, as in the case of smartphones, will already be on the terminal when it is first launched. Others can be found - also like in the case of smartphones - in the app store. However, unlike Google Play or the App Store, this is not a "grab bag" store (not to offend both brands). A dedicated marketplace will contain only applications prepared for terminals, which will be useful in your business. And - what is equally important – it will be safe.
Before appearing in the store, each application is thoroughly researched and checked for possible "holes" and errors. There will also be no such liberty as in the case of "smartphone" stores, where in principle anyone can write an application - only applications from previously verified companies and programmers will appear in the store
It is the possibility of extending the functionality by making use of applications that makes Android-based devices so special. Without them, they are still just terminals. Yes, it is more modern, effective and convenient to use - but still, in its own way, it is a very traditional terminal.
Only with applications does it become really smart. But more on that in the next article…