Mobile point of sale terminals have dramatically changed the way small merchants can conduct their businesses and process their payments. Now that mPOS technology is becoming more mainstream, where will the industry go from here?
That’s a question well suited for Ken Paull, CEO of ROAM and Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse. Both men are deeply involved in the mPOS industry, yet both deal with different aspects of the acquirer/processor sphere.
Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster spoke with Paull and Helgeson to discuss mobile’s impact on the terminals, the nature of the industry’s disruptive players and what modern merchants want from their POS systems.
“What we’re hearing from merchants is that they need a lot more functionality than just credit card processing,” Helgeson said. ”So the mobile platforms out there are great ways they can get the services and value add they need, bundled in with the credit card processing pieces. “
Paull agreed with Helgeson’s assessment that the days of merchants simply wanting a way to accept card payments are over.
“These mid-tier retailers and large retailers are quite a bit more sophisticated in what they’re looking for, and what we’re really trying to focus on is choosing the right distributing partner who really understand this dynamic, and who can take our technology and turn it into a broader solution for them,” Paull said.
When Webster asked the two men about disruption in the terminal industry, both said that legacy players had a part in disrupting their own industry, but they disagreed on the extend to which internal industry change affected the major terminal players.
“Right now, I think the disruptors are actually coming form the legacy players as well as some new players,” said Helgeson. “I think what’s driving this is that a lot of merchants, and not even mobile merchants but brick and mortar merchants, are starting to realize that these big point of sale systems … can be replaced with an iPad or Android tablet that has the same functionality and processing power.
If it’s done effectively and a lot of the data is kept in the cloud, and you can protect the credit card data, it’s a very viable option for point of sale.”
Paull acknowledged that there is some disruption within the terminal industry, but argued that many current players in the terminal space are doing more to create new opportunities than they are to disrupt established terminal players.
“It’s interesting – we get a lot of calls from analysts asking what is the impact [of our business] on the VeriFones and Ingenicos of the world, in terms of the terminal business. And certainly on the low end, there’s a little bit of overlap,” Paul said. “but the majority of this activity, I’d say 90 percent or more, is really generating new opportunities and allowing for new things.”
To hear more Webster, Paull and Helgeson on the changing mobile POS environment, listen to the full podcast below.
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Ken has over 20 years in senior management roles in the electronic payments industry including Senior Vice President at RBS Lynk”¨(now WorldPay), Vice President at Triton Systems and General Manager at VeriFone. He was responsible for building and rapidly growing what is now WorldPay’s national account payments division while also directing the turnaround of what had been a declining ATM processing business. While at Triton, the company surpassed NCR as the second largest domestic ATM supplier and also became the global leader in retail ATM deployments. At VeriFone, Ken built their major account, retail division which has become one of the largest segments of their business. Most recently, Ken was ROAM Data’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining ROAM, Ken served on the Board of Directors of Access to Money, as Director of Market Platform Dynamics and President”¨of PAX US. A native of the Boston area, Ken holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications ”¨from Babson College, as well as an MBA in Telecommunications Management from Golden”¨Gate University.
CEO, Merchant Warehouse
Henry Helgeson is the CEO of Merchant Warehouse. He is responsible for driving the future vision of the company and leading day-to-day operational activity.
After attending Marist College, Henry worked as an independent contractor for United Processing Corporation selling terminals and printers door-to-door to merchants. Intrigued by the industry and interested in finding a lower cost solution for merchants, Henry co-founded Merchant Warehouse. In 1998, Merchant Warehouse launched as the industry’s first website offering low-cost merchant credit card processing equipment and software.
Since launching Merchant Warehouse, Henry has remained at the forefront of innovation in the payment solutions industry. Today, the company processes over $8 billion a year in sales and more than 12 million transactions a month. A visionary, Henry has been the driving force behind the company’s recently launched, Genius™ Customer Engagement Platform™. Genius is the first payments industry solution in the marketplace to have the capability of aggregating and integrating every conceivable transaction technology, payment type and customer program – both present and future – in a single platform.
Henry is actively involved in numerous industry associations. He currently serves as chair of the ISO Practices committee for the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and a member of their Mobile Payments Committee. He is also a board member of the Northeast Aquirers Association (NEAA). In 2012, he received the ETA Member of the Year Award, recognizing his contributions to the future success of the industry and the ETA organization and he has been named to the Boston Business Journal’s (BBJ’s) “40 under 40” list.