Saturday , January 25, 2020

With Stripe Terminal, the Online Payments Specialist Moves Into Face-to-Face Sales

Stripe, the San Francisco-based online payments company, is taking a step to get inside stores. The company on Monday launched Stripe Terminal, a service that puts Stripe’s processing software onto point-of-sale hardware devices that merchants can use to accept payments in their stores.

The move follows similar migrations in recent years from online processing to the point of sale, perhaps the most prominent of which has been that of PayPal Holdings Inc.

Launched in 2011, Stripe up to this point has provided only online payment processing. Stripe Terminal encompasses developer tools for making custom checkout processes as well as pre-certified POS devices and the capability to manage and monitor these devices.

Stripe certified a mobile card reader and a countertop smart POS device for use with its Stripe Terminal service. (Image credit: Stripe)

Stripe cautions that the service is not set up for coffee shops, hairdressers, or similar small businesses. Given its Internet-first approach to payments, Stripe Terminal is best suited to Internet-first merchants and software platforms, Stripe says.

“For the kinds of company that run on Stripe—modern, globally oriented, technically sophisticated organizations—there’s been no good way to unify the acceptance of in-store and online payments,” Devesh Senapati, product manager for Stripe Terminal, tells Digital Transactions News in an email. “We’ve been hearing from our users, especially Internet-first retailers and software platforms, that they’d like us to be able to support their expanding presence in the physical world.”

It was only in March that Stripe made a big move that perhaps presaged Stripe Terminal. It bought Index Inc., a company that specializes in point-of-sale technology, including software that speeds up EMV transactions.

Many retailers strive to offer an omnichannel experience for their shoppers, so how they shop online is easily viewed alongside their in-store shopping behavior.

“Stripe understands that once the card information is entered into the payment ecosystem it’s just data, and it doesn’t matter where the data is entered,” says Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Boston-based Aite Group. “Many of their online clients have physical-world locations, and if they can integrate their physical-world payments with their online payments they get a more efficient process, better data on their customers, and a single solution to payments through a [payment facilitator]. Migration of the payfac model to the physical world was inevitable and it’s logical that Stripe would be a leader in that migration.”

Merchants already using Stripe Terminal include Mindbody, which provides business software for health and wellness businesses, and AtVenu for concerts and performances.

Pricing for Stripe Terminal is 2.7% plus 5 cents per credit or debit card transaction. Stripe’s online processing fee, on a pay-as-you-go basis, is 2.9% plus 30 cents.

Compliant POS terminals include the BBPos Ltd. Chipper 2X BT portable reader and the P400 device from Verifone Systems Inc. Hardware prices range from $59 for a mobile reader to $299 for a countertop smart terminal.

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