Wireless Point of Sale
Wireless Point of Sale (POS) Payment Processing for Your Business
Like every other technology under the sun, point of sale (POS) payment processing is going wireless. But is it a good investment for your business?
Wireless point-of-sale terminals and related point of sale software have gotten a lot of publicity lately. How can you determine if they’re a worthwhile investment for your business? First, you need to understand the differences between wired and wireless point of sale terminals and software.
The growing popularity of wireless point-of-sale (POS) terminals is no surprise, given that the mobile work force in the United States is expected to reach 47 million by 2003. This group of users is composed primarily of business owners who need to travel for business yet want to offer credit and debit card point of sale payment options to their customers.
Mobile wireless point of sale solutions enable merchants to process credit and debit card payments conveniently and securely, anywhere they go. These wireless point of sale terminals offer mobile merchants portability and transaction flexibility, allowing them to use a number of devices to process swiped credit card transactions or e-commerce sales through Internet-based payment gateways. In addition, by using a wireless point of sale (POS) device to process payment transactions, these merchants enjoy a lower, discounted rate compared to keyed entries. Plus, wireless point of sale terminals can capture card information offline and store point of sale transactions for later transmission, an important benefit for merchants who find themselves in remote locations. But whether your company can benefit from this technology depends on your products and services and the kinds of point of sale payment options that best serve your customers.
The transaction time for accepting a card with a wireless point of sale terminal can actually be less than with a standard land-line terminal, depending on the coverage and the type of wireless point of sale device. Some wireless point of sale applications allow merchants to move their cashiers and check-out stations to any location in the store, unlike a fixed location that’s tied to a land line and a power supply.
Wireless point of sale remote technology now includes multifunctional devices that combine cellular phones, PDAs and point-of-sale transaction terminals with various peripherals and point of sale software, allowing merchants to merge several pieces of point-of-sale equipment into one unit. This reduces the purchase of redundant point of sale hardware, provides a convenient manner for performing several business tasks and offers merchants the option to transmit a wireless point of sale transaction from any location. There are several companies that now manufacture multifunctional wireless point of sale terminals that swipe both magnetic stripe and smart cards, a versatile feature that allows business owners to further expand their customers’ point of sale payment options.
Internet-capable PDAs have become a popular vehicle for credit card transaction POS processing. Many mobile merchants, who rely heavily on these devices for business communications, now perform credit card transactions on the same pocket-sized unit.
A number of point of sale companies now offer cost-effective peripherals and software, which can convert any PDA into a transaction-processing terminal. These wireless point of sale terminals give merchants the option to swipe customers’ cards or accept e-commerce transactions through Internet gateways.
Merchants who are reluctant to abandon their wired point of sale terminals may prefer adding external devices, which convert standard land-line point of sale terminals into remote wireless point of sale devices. When plugged into standard terminals and cell phones, these devices perform as wireless point of sale terminals and allow merchants to have the best of both worlds–the convenience and mobility of a wireless point of sale terminal yet the coverage of a wired one.
As you explore the world of wireless point of sale technology, make sure the wireless point of sale terminal you purchase offers the following benefits:
- Ability to connect to peripherals, such as bar-code wands and check readers, through an RS-232 interface.
- Ability to process secure ATM/debit card transactions.
- Built-in thermal printer with drop-in paper loading.
- Easy-to-read backlit LCD display that supports non-English fonts.
- Electronic benefits transfer (EBT) capability.
- Integrated network modem (and the capability to support additional networks).
- Long-lasting, rechargeable battery pack.
- Purchasing card capability.
- Support for Address Verification Service.
- Support for debit, credit, charge and stored-value cards, as well as loyalty programs.
This is just a preliminary glimpse into the wide world of wireless point of sale terminals and their complementary peripherals and software. Before you purchase a wireless point of sale system, speak to other business owners who use them, read industry articles and request product literature from the manufacturers. Look beyond the technology and find the wireless point of sale terminal that best suits your business needs.
Wireless Point of Sale Decade
The first decade of this millennium will unquestionably be the era of the wireless point of sale interface. Sure, there have been some lumps and bumps with this technology, and some early adopters have been burned–maybe even you. But the wireless point of sale technology is coming on strong. It’s feisty, innovative, and even provides a unique experience for diners.
Most importantly, wireless point of sale keeps your waitstaff on the floor rather than walking to and from the order-entry station. That means your staff can handle more tables and give better service. And, when you equip bus staff with wireless point of sale technology, they’ll know instantly when guests at table 12 need more water or rolls or when a table needs resetting, which shortens turnover time.
Wireless point of sale ensures that waitstaff are updated on the availability of items in the kitchen. When you 86 a special, the chef sends a note to all the order-entry units. Never again will your staff have to return to a table lamenting, “I’m sorry we just ran out of the item you ordered.”