Former Google Wallet boss Osama Bedier is bidding to take advantage of the "once in a lifetime" opportunity presented by America's move to EMV chip cards with a new take on the point-of-sale terminal.
US merchants are having to upgrade millions of payment terminals as the country finally makes the shift from magstripe-based card payments. Those that don't make the switch by next October will be liable for fraudulent purchases.
Bedier aims to attract many with his new purpose-built touchscreen Poynt Smart Terminal, designed to be future-proof in a rapidly changing landscape, accepting mag-stripe, chip cards, NFC, QR code and BLE beacon-based payments.
In a blog post introducing Poynt, Bedier says: "Commerce infrastructure is broken! We consumers carry around supercomputers in our pockets and purses that do magical things we could not imagine even a few short years ago. However, in-store technology still centres around a glorified calculator."
He argues that while the likes of Square have tried to "fill this gap" with their dongle-based systems, this approach lacks security and reliability.
Poynt aims to be a more comprehensive effort. The terminal, a register, scanner and printer are available for pre-order now at a price of $299, with shipping promised early next year. It is being distributed by partner banks.
On the software front, Poynt's operating system was created as a fork of the Google Android OS. The firm has developed three basic apps but has decided to work with partners - including Vend, Kabbage, Swarm and Intuit - for things like loyalty and accounting. The partners develop software for the terminal, with Poynt taking a cut of any sales.
Says Bedier: "The EMV mandate will require all 16 million US payment terminals to change, and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix our broken commerce infrastructure. We call upon banks and developers to join us in this mission to do for merchants what smartphones have done for consumers - usher in a new chapter of commerce."