You’re at your favourite food truck, and the vendor turns their smartphone into a payment terminal to accept your contactless payment. This is software point of sale (SoftPOS) that does not require any additional hardware.
The revolutionary technology allows merchants to be up and running quickly while offering them the flexibility to conduct business nearly anywhere, changing the face of the global point of sale (POS) market.
SoftPOS (also known as Tap on Phone or Tap on Mobile), enables smartphones and tablets with NFC capabilities to function as contactless payment terminals. Individuals and merchants can accept payments from contactless cards and digital wallet on their SoftPOS devices while capturing PIN and additional authentication.
Because there’s no need for extra equipment, it’s a cost-effective solution that’s perfect for small and medium-sized businesses, and it’s quickly gaining traction across the globe.
According to a global study conducted by research and advisory firm Aite-Novarica, SoftPOS is an emerging payment technology with high expectations.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards contactless payments, with more and more consumers opting for digital payments to reduce physical contact. Traditional payment methods, such as cash and cheques, are meanwhile slowly becoming obsolete.
With 3.4 billion active smartphones in the world today, smartphone penetration is at an all-time high. According to beaconstac.com, over 20 per cent of the world’s population has access to NFC, and by 2024, there will be 1.6 billion NFC-enabled devices.
With NFC terminal penetration at critical mass in every region, the infrastructure is set up nicely for SoftPOS to become a ubiquitous payment solution.
Indeed, Aite-Novarica’s study reveals significant investment going on in this space – with pilots live in 74 countries involving 200 acquirers and almost a million phones in the field.
Benefits of SoftPOS
SoftPOS is much lower investment than traditional point-of-sale terminals because it eliminates the need for additional hardware such as card readers. SoftPOS is particularly attractive for micro-merchants and SMBs who may not have the capital to invest in traditional POS systems.
Easy and flexible
SoftPOS is easy to implement and easy to use. To start, the merchant downloads an app to their mobile devices, allowing their device to function as point-of-sale device. Then, a cardholder taps their contactless card, digital wallet or wearable on the merchant’s mobile device to complete the transaction. It can also be used in a variety of settings, including mobile or remote environments where traditional POS terminals may not be practical, giving businesses the flexibility to accept payments wherever they may be doing business.
Secure and scalable
It uses the same secure EMV ® specifications as traditional POS terminals, including end-to-end encryption and tokenisation, to ensure that sensitive card data is protected. SoftPOS can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, from micro-merchants to large enterprises.
SoftPOS is built for contactless payments, which became a rapidly adopted payment method among consumers in the wake of the pandemic. In fact, from 2021 to 2022, Discover Global Network reports that contactless sales volume globally jumped 109 per cent, while the number of contactless transactions rose more than 76 per cent during the same period.
SoftPOS in action
Tableside bill payments
Rather than waiting for the bill to arrive and then for the waiter to return with the payment terminal, customers can simply pay their bill instantly tableside
SoftPOS can provide additional support in-store during busy times. Allowing the merchant the ability to speed up the checkout process and reduce long line wait times for their customer
With SoftPOS, the purchase of tickets is safer, easier and faster – both for passengers and transit agencies. Passengers rushing to catch a train may pay the conductor once they have boarded the train, to eliminate long lines at the ticket machine.
Working with Discover® Global Network
Global payments brand Discover Global Network is currently working to help multiple payment service providers collaborate with acquirers, app developers and others in the payments ecosystem to scale SoftPOS capability with merchants.
This truly has changed the landscape for small, medium and mobile-type businesses. It’s among just the latest advances in payments technology that Discover has been excited to bring to market in collaboration with its acquirer, fintech and developer partners.