As the popularity of card and mobile-based proximity payments has increased, so has the POS infrastructure. Between 2015 and 2019, the POS installed base grew from 47 million to 137 million units, and should keep expanding as Covid-19 pandemic bolstered
contactless transactions. In particular the percentage of mobile POS (mPOS) among total payment terminals shipments rose from 21% to 48%, with a six-fold increase in the number of units deployed per year. And by 2025, the annual volume of mPOS shipments is
expected to grow by 50%, to reach 93 million units. These rising trends in the mPOS infrastructure indicate the rapid migration towards a cashless system in the near future as well as the emergence of new in-person payment experiences.
Emerging Use Cases
While at the table payments at restaurants and bars have been around for quite some time, or more recently in-aisle payments, to shorten the checkout queues in-store, many merchants are moving away from traditional - heavy, non-portable payment terminals
with small screens, to provide their customers with a smooth checkout experience. Additionally, many small actors, who heavily relied on cash, such as taxi drivers, doctors, solicitors, etc, are also adapting to the new cashless society often using lightweight
POS. Other areas involving mobile payments include click-and-collect, home delivery services, cashless events and on-the-spot fines.
There’s a myriad of examples of how the cashless transition is taking place in the most unconventional and fascinating way. In 2019, a sports event at Mercedes Benz Stadium in the USA went completely cashless, resulting in savings of $350,000 and significantly
shorter queues at refreshment kiosks. In London, staff at fashion retailer Zara carry iPads that accept payments, thus creating mobile checkouts throughout the store. At Blue Cross, a UK animal welfare charity incorporated ‘Tap Dogs’ wearing special fundraising
jackets to accept donations.
Even tech giants are actively driving this transition through NFC wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and merchant-presented QR codes such as AliPay and WeChat. Some other notable examples include PIX, a government-backed QR code-based instant payment
scheme in Brazil, or BHIM in India.
The Pioneers driving the Innovation
The payment experience was for a long time ignored and hence witnessed very little innovation for a long time, but pioneer distributors, such as SumUp, Zettle in Europe and Square, in North-America have sparked a significant disruption in the POS industry.
These new units are compact, lightweight, and ideal for mobility applications. There’s also a shift from PC or proprietary cashier hardware to tablet-inspired designs to cover the use cases mentioned earlier. These payment terminals are easier to use and
provide an intuitive user experience to the merchants, while also providing multiple connectivity options, such as 4G, Wi-Fi, and smartphone pairing via Bluetooth. The NextGen mPOS also enhanced consumer experience by supporting multiple payment methods using
just one device, and provide a choice of printed or digital receipts.
Thanks to these actors leading the innovation, the payment industry is now able to mirror the latest consumption trends, hence providing the best possible payment experience to the merchants as well as the customers.