Count Poynt Co. as the newest member of the point-of-sale terminal maker industry. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company hopes to entice merchants, developers, and resellers to its product. Osama Bedier, Poynt chief executive, formerly led Google Inc.’s Google Wallet and before that worked at PayPal Inc.
The L-shaped device rests on the countertop with a large display screen facing the merchant and a smaller one facing the consumer. The Poynt terminal is compatible with magnetic stripe and chip cards, and includes a near-field communication antenna for contactless payments, Bluetooth, and a barcode scanner.
At $299, the Poynt terminal will begin shipping to merchants in early 2015, Poynt says. Developers pay $499 for a developer kit that ships later this year. The terminal’s operating system is a customized version of Android. Initially, POS system provider Vend, merchant funder Kabbage, check-in service Swarm, tech-support provide Boomtown, online shopping-cart provider Bigcommerce, and Intuit Inc., the accounting software company, are developers for the device.
Poynt’s Web site contains no information about the company’s reseller program other than soliciting inquiries. Poynt did not respond to a Digital Transactions News inquiry.
Poynt, of course, faces numerous competitors, including VeriFone Systems Inc., Equinox Payments LLC, Ingenico S.A., ExaDigm Inc., Pax Technology Inc., Square Inc., Groupon, PayPal and Amazon.com Inc., and POS system makers like Micros Systems, Leaf, Revel Systems, and scores of others.
That competition, and the reliance of many of them on having multiple sales channels to reach merchants, will be a challenge.
“Poynt looks like an attractive and compelling product, but it is entering a very competitive space,” POS terminal-industry analyst Gil Luria tells Digital Transactions News in an email. “Not only are there giants like VeriFone and Ingenico, but other companies are trying to enter the U.S. [small and mid-size business] market as well—everybody from China-based Pax to Square, PayPal, and now Amazon.”
Many of the major POS terminals makers rely on equipment distributors and deals with independent sales organizations and acquirers to reach the millions of small U.S. merchants. Some also sell directly to merchants, with many restricting these sales to the largest of merchants.
“The challenge is to get distribution to SMBs through merchant acquirers that have been relying on VeriFone and Ingenico for years and have an established supply chain,” Luria says. “Even if a couple of acquirers pick up the product, that does not mean they will sell it exclusively.”
Poynt also faces a challenge getting its terminal certified for use on payment processing networks. “The next challenge is obtaining the many certifications required for a payment terminal from UL, PCI, and each acquirer and processor network and doing so for every new product,” Luria says.