Company Spotlight

Mobile Payments Means Death For One-Size-Fits-All Solutions

Hardware is the razor, and software is the blade.

That’s the strongest analogy made in’s May 2013 edition of our MPOS Tracker: a monthly report designed to organize a chaotic and dynamic MPOS ecosystem.

This month’s iteration highlighted the increasing importance of software in a field once associated more with hardware, as well as the need for solutions to cater to very different verticals with very different needs.

But according to Ken Paull, CEO at ROAM, this shift in the MPOS market is largely one we’ve seen before. spoke with Paull about May’s MPOS findings, as well as what ROAM is doing in a battle for mPayments supremacy being fought on many fronts.

“I think this ties in with a topic that we’ve had before in terms of some parallels with the POS and payment terminal market, the way it took off many years ago,” Paull said. “The POS terminal itself becomes the razor, and a lot of the software becomes the blade because of value-added applications.”

Put another way, “the terminal, or the piece of hardware itself, becomes the real estate, and the software becomes the value-added application,” Paull explained. “We’re starting to really see those get built out.”

Paull indicated that ROAM was a bit ahead of the curve with this month’s MPOS pattern, as it launched the ROAMpay X4 app for Android and iOS-based mobile devices in late April.

This month, ROAM’s main MPOS movement came from its partnership with iPayments and the release of the RP350X, which Paull said he believes is “the first Chip and Signature audio jack solution that’s been PCI certified out in the market.”

As for May’s second MPOS focus – verticalization – Paull said it reflects on the approach ROAM has taken to the mobile payments industry as a whole.

“The way we approach the market, and I think it’s going to be true for a lot of payers who enter, is that it can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution,” Paull explained. “Solutions have to be tailored to various industries, and the use cases are different.”

Two verticals Paull highlighted as needing such flexibility are the direct selling (DSA) and the quick service restaurant (QSR) industries.

For the former industry, Paull noted that features such as converting card-not-present to card present rates, security and chargeback protection and gaining management efficiencies are some of specific, value-added features that software can add.

In the latter space, Paull also noted “line-busting to delivery to business continuity to pop-up stores” as use cases that require customization.

“In the case of the QSR industry, we’re seeing a convergence of inventory functionality start to creep into the payment application,” Paull said. “It’s considered a requirement for these people who are using the mobile solution.”

To hear more Paull on mPOS software, vertical specialization and more, listen to the full podcast below.


*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.

Ken Paull

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.


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