When PayPal debuted in cyberspace in 1998 it was a novel move towards a globally connected e-commerce society by allowing business and users to make and send payments directly through the internet. PayPal radically changed the way business was done, no longer did you have to purchase money orders or write checks and worry about their deliverance, instead you could log into the secure website, type in the amount you wanted to pay and to whom, click send, and the record is immediately in your account and sent to you via email.
It wouldn’t take a genius to deduce that following PayPal’s internet success, it would make an attempt to revolutionize point-of-sale space at retailers across the nation, giving users immediate access to their PayPal accounts which they could then use to make purchases, bypassing the need for a 2-5 day bank transfer. It was announced on Thursday that PayPal has inked a deal that will give the company access to three of the top point-of-sale providers and access to nearly 40 million terminals spanning the globe. PayPal, which already had a relationship with Ingernico announced it had signed partnerships with VeriFone and Equinox Payments.
PayPal has obviously worked very hard to form these partnerships and reach its goal of having 20 major retailers signed on by the end of the year by only requiring an update to the software at the retailers’ terminals instead of requiring new hardware, an expense most cannot afford to take on during the economic difficulties of today. The seamless integration of PayPal has already been rolled out at all 2000 Home Depot’s and consumers only need to use a PayPal issued credit care, or their phone number and a pin number to access their accounts and pay at the terminal for their goods.
Heating up a competitive space
PayPal is not the only player in the retail point-of-sale space. Google Wallet turns a users cell phone into a virtual wallet, storing credit cards on the phone. When a customer is at a store that accepts Google Wallet, paying is as easy as tapping the cell phone at the point of sale. The credit card information, which is stored in the cloud, is then quickly transmitted to the retailer and the transaction completed.
Another player, Square, is an Apple and Android-compatible program that allows users to attach a credit card reader and accept payment anywhere, turn the iPad into a register, and allows users to pay with the program. The revolutionary card reader is small, about the size of a quarter and with a swipe of the card, and a signature of the purchaser on the touch screen of the phone, the purchase is complete. As an added bonus the card reader is free, and to alleviate confusion the fee for using the cards, which typically vary company to company, is at a set 2.75%. Square Register turns the iPad into a point-of-sale terminal, simultaneously keeping track of inventory and offering fast check out for customers making life easier for small business owners. Pay with Square is perhaps the most revolutionary point-of-sale advancement we have seen from the company. Following installation of the app, you merely visit a business which accepts it as payment, and say your name at the counter, your photo and name pop up on the point-of-sale screen, the cashier confirms and the same is complete.
While PayPal might be the most well known name in the game, and Google Wallet the biggest name in the game, it would be foolish and unwise to discount programs such as Square as being irrelevant to the advent of point-of-sale payments that do not require a physical credit card as payment. Each program has a unique offering of pros which make each an attractive option for those wishing to utilize them.