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Software PoS: What is it? And why it’s important for retailers

Software PoS: What is it? And why it’s important for retailers 3

Software PoS: What is it? And why it’s important for retailers 4By Brad Hyett, CEO of phos

We have seen the payment landscape go from strength to strength over the last decade and it’s now in its most exciting and inventive era. Payment technology that would have taken years to come to fruition has now materialised following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Payments not only provide the foundations for the wider economy but continue to drive changes in technology and how we conduct business. With the possibility of a cash-free society on the horizon, Software Point of Sale or ‘SoftPoS’ is an innovative payment technology growing in popularity.

This emerging mobile payments technology aims to address the issues behind the digitalisation of payments for SMEs. Whether you’re a shopper or seller, the payment ecosystem has undeniably evolved following a global surge in the use of digital payments post-pandemic. However, to understand the extensive benefits of SoftPoS, we must ask the question – what exactly is it?

An overview of SoftPoS

SoftPoS allows merchants to accept card payments directly on their phones or mobile devices without the need for any additional hardware. This enables businesses to avoid the high costs of having to pay for expensive Point of Sale (POS) terminals i.e. card readers.

The ability to accept payments on mobile devices has come a long way and many SMEs can now run their business from their smartphone. Using near-field communication (NFC) technology, card payments can be accepted on any Android smartphone or tablet – devices readily available to the SME market.

With SoftPoS being based on Android OS, the integration of additional business applications serves to enhance the functionality of how payments are made.

With 5.32 billion unique mobile phone users in the world today, according to the latest data from GSMA Intelligence, mobiles have become an integral part of daily life. The fact a large majority of people have an Android or iPhone device has democratised access to technology, meaning even smaller retailers have everything they need to accept contactless payments in their pocket.

Benefits of SoftPoS for SMEs

SoftPoS offers a multitude of benefits for merchants and customers alike. The ability to transform commonly used devices into payment acceptance devices is revolutionary. For example, scalability is easy and requires little to no training for staff since almost everyone has access to a mobile phone.

As many sectors continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, not having to pay for additional hardware saves merchants money that can be put into other vital areas of their business.

Likewise, giving consumers more ways to pay for products and services will ensure SMEs don’t miss out on opportunities to close more sales, whilst creating a frictionless experience for their customers.

In short, SoftPoS enables businesses to reach more customers than ever before and keep them coming back with the ability to pay in a way that suits them.

Forward-thinking businesses have recognised this potential and are already leveraging the technology today.  For instance, card giant Mastercard has enabled millions of underserved businesses across Europe to accept cashless payments using a SoftPoS solution.

Contactless adoption across developing markets

According to the Global Findex 2021 database, two-thirds of adults worldwide now make or receive a digital payment, with the share in developing economies growing from 35% in 2014 to 57% in 2021.

Many countries shifted digital transformation projects up their priority list in response to the pandemic. The digital revolution of cashless alternatives has created new economic opportunities worldwide whilst bringing about greater financial inclusivity.

Emerging markets within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have highlighted the growth of mobile-first propositions for businesses. With merchants in these developing markets typically relying on cash transactions, better access to mobile money services has served as a catalyst for the adoption of SoftPoS.

This momentum shows no signs of slowing down as technology giant Apple recently announced it would be enabling contactless payments on iPhone for the first time earlier this year. Its move into the space validates the market potential of SoftPoS worldwide and will increase adoption of the technology as contactless adoption surges in both mass and developing markets.

Historically, SoftPoS was not supported by iOS operating systems, but the recent turn of events highlights the growing demand and appetite for contactless payments on mobile.

Final thoughts…

There’s no denying the impact that SoftPoS will continue to have in the payments world. But, we’re only just scratching the surface of what’s possible. With contactless payments continuing to penetrate new markets and consumers increasingly favouring cashless ways to pay, the addressable market for SoftPoS can only trend in one direction.

As SMEs continue to focus on technology, digitisation and quality services for customers, digital payments are set to grow exponentially. Thanks to SoftPoS technology, they already have a low-cost, convenient and user-friendly means of meeting this demand.

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