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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 06/05/2013

Perfecting the point-of-sale system

In the past several weeks, Square,Groupon and PayPal have made major announcements about their point-of-sale systems.

Square unveiled an iPad app specifically for quick-serve restaurants, wirelessly connected to a cash-register, and Groupon re-released Breadcrumb POS for the iPad, expanding its capabilities beyond restaurants and bars to salons and merchants. Payment-processor PayPal announced its integration with several independent mobile POS systems such as ShopKeep and LeapSet, offering a “cash for registers” scheme waiving transaction fees for six-months if business owners use PayPal to accept payments.


MAY 2, 2013: Harold Chacon, co-owner of White Apron Speciality Sandwiches in D.C., trains his staff to use Square. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post) (Astrid Riecken - For the Post)
These start-ups have been vying for the small business market by offering lower transaction fees than traditional credit card processors — Square charges 2.75 percent per swipe, Paypal 2.7 percent and Groupon 1.8 percent plus a 15-cent fee — but the recent spate of announcements signal a shift in emphasis from payment processing to simplifying the point-of-sale process for business owners. Some players like Square aim to offer both payment processing and point-of-sale technology — others are choosing to tackle one or the other.

For instance, Square began by processing individual payments through a smartphone or tablet card-reader attachment. Last year, the start-up released Square Register, allowing business owners to ring up and charge customers for inventory — since then, it has released subsequent updates for restaurants and quick serve restaurants, including features like printing kitchen tickets.

PayPal released PayPal Here, a mobile payment processing system with a similar smartphone or card-reader attachment, last year. Since then, it has partnered with various existing point-of-sale systems with established markets in specific niches, such as ERPLY, an iPad browser tailored to large retailers and chains and NCR Silver, a Web-based system for retail and small restaurants, according to a PayPal spokesperson.

Jason Richelson, chief executive and founder of ShopKeep, one of the POS systems partnering with PayPal, said ShopKeep has no plans to offer its own payment processing.

Richelson founded the company five years ago after working in food retail in Brooklyn, struggling to balance expensive hardware — touch-screen computer monitors, cash registers and credit card processors — as well as separate service fees.

Richelson and his team have chosen to partner with various payment processors including PayPal. ShopKeep users subscribe to the service for a monthly fee of $49, or $98 for two registers, and payment processing fees are paid to the processor.

“We’re not a payments company. We’re there to support and service point-of-sale — we’re an entire retail management system,”Richelson said, explaining that he finds his customers like the flexibility of choosing from different payment processors.

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 06/05/2013

 
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