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October 31, 2017

Mobile device management for kiosks

By Roger Niederer

As kiosk retailers are all too well aware, installing a payment solution suitable for the trying requirements of a kiosk can be somewhat of a challenge. And simply searching for the smallest version of a regular payment terminal isn’t the answer!

By their very nature, kiosks are small, with reduced counter space and sometimes limited infrastructure like water, power supply and WiFi access.

In addition, they can be in a remote or exposed location. As a result, kiosk retailers need to ensure any payment device is small, low maintenance, sturdy and portable. Moreover, due to long opening hours and the rise of pop-up events, stalls and kiosks which move around to follow tourist or seasonal retail patterns, the staff in the kiosks rarely remains constant.

As a consequence, staff often haven’t received thorough training on the payment process, meaning a kiosk’s payment device must also be intuitive, easy to use and, more importantly, reliable.

Sourcing a suitable payment infrastructure, suitable for the high-traffic, low-value business of most kiosks, therefore leaves many of the established options wanting.  The typical cash-only option, as well as being bulky, time-consuming and with the associated security risks, is simply not suitable for today’s growing cashless population.

An increasing number of people across all demographics no longer carry cash and so all retailers need to adapt to ever-changing consumer behaviour.

Similarly, a traditional mounted, or point of sale terminal, while suitable for cashless, contactless and even mobile payments, requires space for set-up, a reliable power supply and Local Area Network or stable WiFi connectivity.

These mounted or portable payment devices can be the perfect solution for shop-in-shop concepts or kiosks within high-end building compounds, where a certain level of security is provided during off-hours, but for many kiosks, this simply is not an option.

However, this is where contemporary mobile point of sale (mPOS) offerings can provide the solution. Installation requires little more than downloading the provider’s mobile app onto your phone or tablet to use in conjunction with the mini-terminal. Thanks to in-built NFC capabilities, the terminal can then be used for card as well as contactless and mobile payments, so that you can still cater for all customers.

Some providers also offer DCC (dynamic currency conversion) for foreign customers. The card reader is small so can be easily locked away or taken home to avoid any off-hours security concerns and does not require a constant power supply to function.

There are, of course, a range of mPOS solutions, which can be tailored to suit the individual, offering add-ons such as bar-code scanners and receipt printers.

A variety of packages is also available for those retailers with low transaction volumes who may prefer a monthly all-in-one flat fee. Thanks to the low maintenance and ease of use, mPOS solutions also negate any issues caused by high staff turnover.

In our increasingly temporary society, rife with pop-up events, micro enterprises and seasonal market stalls and the decline of cash-carrying consumers, payment providers need to adapt quickly in order to remain attractive and offer suitable options to a range of outlets.

Fortunately for kiosk retailers, mPOS has been developed to cater for their exacting needs, providing a fast, affordable and reliable solution.

Roger Niederer is the head of merchant services at SIX Payment Services

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