By Hervé Thevenin, Global Marketing Manager Vertical Sales at Worldline (https://worldline.com/)
The number of merchants deploying Software Point of Sales (SoftPOS) solutions is expected to reach 34.5 million within the next five years. This article will offer a brief introduction to the technology, and a perspective on what impact it will have on the hospitality industry.
What is SoftPOS?
SoftPOS can be described as a software solution that converts any NFC enabled smartphone or tablet into a certified payment terminal. This means that no extra hardware is required. The technology can either apply to a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) device or be added to “enterprise devices” – Android OS devices which some companies upgrade specifically for the purpose of their business clients, such as Zebra Technologies, Toshiba, Diebold Nixdorf, amongst many others.
Android is by no means the only mobile operator that has integrated SoftPOS into its offering. Last year, in February 2022, Apple announced the introduction of a solution capable of transforming an IOS device into a payment terminal, a solution available to merchants of all sizes in the US. Similarly, Visa & Mastercard have already built their own certification / authorisation solution, which is available in Europe.
Benefits for all
SoftPOS is arguably an example of technological innovation that answers the changing needs and requirements of customers. The hospitality industry is one of many sectors for which SoftPOS technology has many use-cases and benefits – may it be restaurants, QSR or hotels.
One example is payment at table: upon completion of their meal, guests need to request staff for the bill and then wait again until staff are able to present the payment terminal. Not to mention that said POS may be already in use causing further delay. Whereas SoftPOS will provide the restaurant staff with the opportunity to use the same device to collect both orders and payments – the technology is mobile and user friendly.
Moving forward, the softPOS technology can be easily integrated with the restaurant’s core business application – order collection for instance -, and not running as a standalone application, resulting in a simple but all-in-one solution for the waiter
This innovation brings value for both restaurant managers and customers: check out gets faster, improving the waiter’s productivity and the customer ‘s experience… at the same time. The expected rise of this technology is a logical outcome of the massive surge of contactless payments over the past few years – a seamless, easy, reliable, and secure payment method. The Contactless Payment Terminals Market report found that the global contactless payment terminals market was valued at $13 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $51 billion by 2026. This would nearly quadruple the size
Furthermore, a smart device upgraded with a SoftPOS solution will be compliant with all relevant PCI standards required for payment processing – including the 2019 Contactless Payments on COTS (CPoC) Standard, and the 2022 Mobile Payments on COTS (MPoC) Standard.
Hoteliers, as any other merchants, are constantly looking for new tools to improve their customer journey whilst cutting down on costs. What makes SoftPOS interesting to the hospitality industry is that it will do just that.
The technology remains in its early stages and as such, the ideal business strategy for merchants entails a combination of SoftPOS with traditional payment terminals. At least at this stage, whilst the technology will benefit from further developments over the next few years.