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Expert opinion

POS terminals within the omnichannel environment

Monday 10 July 2017 | 08:41 AM CET

Ralf Gladis, Computop: For merchants who use a PCI P2PE solution, the need to gain PCI certification for their IT system landscape is reduced to almost zero

Bricks-and-mortar trade grows hand-in-hand with ecommerce. A new generation of POS solutions is combining the most robust data security with omnichannel integration and global coverage. POS terminals are renewed every three to five years. For many merchants, this is a large investment that means committing to one form of technology for many years to come. That is why keeping track of the latest innovations is a worthwhile endeavour.

A new generation of POS solutions has been developed, which reduces costs and expenditure on PCI security audits and also protects consumer card data through point-to-point-encryption (P2PE). The corresponding POS solutions not only improve security but also enhance omnichannel retail activities because they can be used with smartphones or tablets at no great expense. And international branches also have reason to rejoice: P2PE POS terminals can now be used worldwide, offering three substantial benefits: security, omnichannel use and internationalisation.

Security: point-to-point encryption

Criminal hackers are desperate to get their hands on people‘s credit and debit card details. That is why the number of attacks on POS systems in retail, restaurants and hotel chains is on the rise. This is not just an annoyance for the customers, it also damages the brand image of the hotels, restaurants and merchants affected.

In order to counter this loss of trust, Visa and Mastercard have introduced new security standards which protect merchants against data theft through strong encryption: Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) to be precise. Payment data is heavily encrypted directly on the POS terminal, with each payment being given a new key. The data is only decrypted when it is received by the payment service provider. The robust encryption means data can be transferred between any type of device on its way to the payment provider from the POS terminal, thus doing away with the need for a PCI audit as neither merchants nor hackers have access to the data.

For merchants who use a PCI P2PE solution, the need to gain PCI certification for their IT system landscape, which would otherwise be necessary, is reduced to almost zero. A couple of crosses on a PCI form is all that is required.

P2PE POS solutions are a new innovative technology. In 2015 Computop became the first payment service provider to become a certified PCI P2PE solution provider in Germany. Worldwide only 14 companies were able to provide P2PE POS solutions. Computop started POS services in 2010 but it took us five years to grow from a pure online PSP to deliver a truly omnichannel payment solution through just one global payment platform including secure P2PE POS solutions. Given the effort Computop made P2PE POS white label solutions available to banks and other PSPs, too.

POS and omnichannel payment

The security offered by P2PE POS solutions also facilitates integration into an omnichannel environment as POS devices can be used with any smartphone or tablet, even though mobile devices are still usually classed as insecure. Thanks to the strong P2PE encryption, card data is kept secure even when the devices are not. This means businesses are free to choose any mobile device and app for their omnichannel retail strategy. With the new P2PE POS solution, Computop is set up for omnichannel payment, including consistent tokenisation across all channels. This has a number of benefits: omnichannel reports and statistics also allow for analysis of sales across all channels, all branches and all online shops. The accounting team can refer back to settlement files (CTSF), which Computop has standardised for all channels and for all payment types worldwide so that reconciliation ca easily be automated. Last, but not the least, support teams can use omnichannel payment data to find not only online and mobile payments, but also data from over-the-counter trade.

POS terminals in international branches

Payment at POS terminals used to be an area of business with domestic focus. In many countries, international merchants had to sign separate contracts with local service providers. This resulted in high processing costs as different terminals, reports, statistics and file formats were being used in each country, which led to a very costly IT integration process. The P2PE POS solution consigns all this to the past. The new POS terminals can be used globally and, with the large selection of Computop Paygate acquirers, international branches can use their preferre local financial service provider. Merchants can simply choose the best acquirer for international business. This offers merchants the highest degree of flexibility in terms of international expansion and optimises conversion and transaction fees.

The symbiosis between POS and ecommerce globally means new revenue potential can be achieved through customer-orientated sales and service features, such as in-store return, click-and-collect or order in-store. The available POS hardware ranges from countertop terminals for use in a till environment, mobile POS and multimedia devices to self-service terminals for machines. In addition, Computop supports 27 till solutions currently available
from manufacturers such as IBM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, NCR and Oracle.

The next terminal upgrade is an opportunity for further innovation. Greater security, easier omnichannel integration and international coverage are good reasons to take a closer look at P2PE solutions. Advantages of P2PE POS solutions include protection for customers‘ card data, protection for the merchant‘s brand image, improved integration in an omnichannel environment, global implementation of the terminals, standardisation for cost cuts, expenditure cuts on PCI audits and White Label opportunity.

About Ralf Gladis

Ralf founded Computop in 1997 together with Frank Arnoldt. In the early years, he worked as software architect in the successful development of the Computop Paygate platform. Gladis had gained the necessary understanding of technology at the University of Bamberg. Today he is responsible for international expansion and for Computop's strategic direction.

 

About Computop

Computop is a leading international Payment Service Provider that enables merchants and white label customers to process global multichannel payments. Computop’s state-of-the-art payment platform Computop Paygate offers seamless solutions for mobile, online and in store payment transactions. Headquartered in Germany, the company has sales operations in New York, London, and Shanghai.

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