The point of sale eco-system is a strange beast. There is constant innovation. Every day they are developing new ways to pay, and every day, the rollout is encumbered by any number of things. It could be legislation and regulation that wasn’t ready to adapt to this new technology and it needs to be corrected based on new data. It could be consumer resistance. How many of us are still swiping our chip cards? Some people don’t even like the whole idea of paying with plastic in the first place, or they might not even trust online payments.
The safeguards are in place for a reason, of course. You need a system of checks and balances in order to ensure that customers and merchants are being treated fairly. A totally libertarian wild west of payment options would be chaotic. This is why, even in areas where there may not be much in the way of federal regulation, there are still agreements and binding regulations between service providers to meet a certain standard of security and trust. Regulatory committees hold merchants and other entities accountable, and that means that sometimes the wheels of technology move a little slower on the business-facing end than they do in the computer labs and virtual environments.
But the innovations do come, and, sooner than later, some later than sooner, they wind up being embraced by customers and by merchants.
A relatively recent innovation in payment processing comes to us courtesy of Poynt. They came onto the scene providing the first smart point of sale system. The word “smart” when applied to technology seems like it can apply to just about anything. Sometimes it means “Internet of Things,” which, more often than not, just means you can use your phone as a remote control.
So your “smart” blinds just have a timer set to the phone in your pocket, and that’s it, that’s why they’re connected to the internet. But “smart” can also mean something considerably more exciting than that. A smart car, for instance, can predict potential accidents and make the appropriate adjustments to keep everyone safe. A smart fridge can figure out when food is about to spoil and let you know so you don’t waste a bowl of cereal by pouring sour milk all over it.
Smart can mean just about anything, so what does it mean in the case of Poynt?
Poynt Smart System: What Does Smart Mean?
For Poynt, smart technology largely comes down to the hardware. The terminals are modeled after smartphones and tablets, and honestly that makes a lot of sense. We’re living in the 21st Century but many retailers are using terminals that look like they were around in the 1990’s.
Payment methods have become more sophisticated, both more complex and more streamlined at the same time, and it really is about time that the hardware in place at the store was at least as good as the hardware that we all carry around in our pockets.
So what difference does it really make when you bring the hardware up to date?
The big one is flexibility. Your smartphone can be anything you need it to be. It’s a credit card, it’s a TV, a stereo, it’s a road map, you can check your emails on it and, yes, now and then, you might even use it as a phone.
Poynt aims to offer this same flexibility in the form of a payment terminal. You can use it as a conventional terminal, a cash register or a combination of the two, you can use it as a menu, anything. It’s customizable to your business and however you want to use it.
You can’t get that with one of those old LCD terminals with the plastic buttons.
Is Poynt Smart System It Easy To Install?
Poynt’s compatibility is stellar. It has been designed to work with whatever system you already have in place, and it is unlikely that you’re going to have any serious compatibility issues as long as you have a relatively up to date point of sale system already installed.
And while this may not be a determining factor for many merchants, it looks nice on the counter top next to the cash register. The sleek design is modern bordering on futuristic. It feels nice to hold, and its slick backlit touchscreen has a clean, cool appearance to it. Not that you put much thought into interior design when selecting a payment terminal, but we like that they put a little extra effort into making sure that it looks nice.
What Are The Fees Like?
Poynt is actually just a terminal setup. It does not come with a merchant account linked to the device. This means that you don’t need to sign up for a whole new thing with them, you can just pick up the hardware and get going. Think of it more like buying a new HDTV. You don’t need to switch your cable company, they don’t charge a viewing fee every time you want to watch one of your Blu-rays. You just buy the thing, put it in your shop and you’re good to go.
So many services and products used in retail come with all kinds of signups and costs, cancellation fees, contracts, the whole nine yards. So it’s nice to have something so simple and elegant in every possible way. You could say that the process of buying and installing a Poynt terminal in your shop reflects the sleekness of its physical design. Clean and effortless.
The device can be purchased through your current provider, assuming that they offer Poynt. The cost is variable from provider to provider and depending on your business needs and so on. Again, there are no transaction fees, Poynt don’t take a percentage at the end of the month, it’s a one-time-cost to purchase a Poynt terminal.
If you work in retail then we don’t have to tell you how refreshing this is. Many product providers will lock you into contracts that take you so long to pay off that the device is outdated by the time it’s bought and paid for. Poynt isn’t an extra bill that you have to pay every month, it’s a one time purchase, and that’s that. End of transaction.
Are There Really No Fees At All?
The only fees that you’re going to be paying with Poynt are the fees that you’re already paying for associated accounts. Poynt doesn’t come with a PCI compliance fee, no early termination fee, no equipment leasing fees, nothing at all. Once you’ve clicked “buy” that’s it, that is the last time you are ever going to be sending any money to Poynt.
How Flexible Is It?
Poynt offers a developer program that allows devs to build their own apps to bring to the market. This can be great if you’re looking to develop your own in-house app, or if you’re a developer looking to create your own apps to market to businesses. The platform can be developed on using Python, Java or JS Node. This means that you have a few options for developing for Poynt no matter the programming language you use.
Of course you don’t have to be a developer to get the most out of Poynt’s flexibility. There are already apps and programs available to customize the payment system you use in your store, restaurant or wherever it is that you do business.
A Change Of Pace
Poynt may well represent the future of payment processing in more ways than one. The technology is impressive, certainly, but so is everything else about the brand.
The business world is changing. You could say that it’s becoming more informal, in every way imaginable. All of the formalities that go along with doing business, from the meetings to the contract signings to everything else, they’re becoming archaic. The new wave of consumers, and business professionals, are looking for a faster, easier way to get things done.
This is why we can pay with our phones, it’s why we’re foregoing meetings for text conversations. Baby Boomers sparked a technological revolution that has transformed the business landscape. The very culture of commerce has changed. People want things to be simple, fast and non-commital.
Poynt achieves that in a number of ways. If you think about it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sign lengthy leasing contracts in order to install a simple piece of hardware in your business with no merchant account attached.
You wouldn’t pay a monthly fee to use your own Blu-ray player, why should you have to pay a monthly fee just to use the hardware?
When someone is providing a continuous service, sure.
The money that they save you by making sure that you are PCI compliant is going to be a lot less than the lawsuit fees would be if you broke PCI regulations. But if someone manufactures a device and sells it to you, shouldn’t that be the end of the transaction?
So Poynt has accomplished something that is a little more impressive than just attaching a smartphone to a payment terminal. By embracing the very spirit of the 21st Century business tech revolution, they have set the bar a little higher. We’ve already seen other brands attempting to ape the same business model and the same device, but Poynt’s terminal still stands head and shoulders against the vast majority of their copy cats.
At present, it is very difficult to find any negative reviews of Poynt on the internet, and that stands to reason. People who post negative reviews in this field are usually frustrated that they’re not really getting what they’re paying for. When you pay a monthly fee or a per-transaction fee in order to be allowed to use a device that you already bought and installed, it’s easy to lose your temper and bang out an angry review online. Likewise Poynt has no negative marks with groups like the Better Business Bureau.
By simplifying the entire relationship between the product seller and the buyer, by simply handing you the device and sending you on your way, Poynt have created an almost bulletproof online presence. There’s no reason to post negative reviews of Poynt. You know what you’re getting when you buy the terminal, and it does what it promises to do. No fine print in the contract to trip you up when you least expect it, no hefty fees that you didn’t realize you were paying.
Our hope is that more developers in our industry follow the example set by Poynt. It makes no sense to keep buying devices on a contract bases, it makes no sense to spend what many of these developers are asking us to spend. By changing the game in more ways than one, Poynt has had an impact on the industry that we hope continues to ripple throughout the payment processing field.