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Is a Smartphone with a Card Reader and a Wireless Barcode Scanner Enough to Replace the Traditional POS?

Mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems have revolutionized retail, making it easier to accept payments than ever before. Some mPOS units consist of a peripheral credit and debit card reader, used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet app; others are a purpose-built handheld terminal, which functions like a cross between a wireless barcode scanner and a debit machine. Both can be used by both large and small businesses to save time and effort. Usage has almost doubled in the past year, but is mPOS right for your business? Let’s look at the pros and cons:

The Pros of mPOS

Ease of Use

At large stores, sales associates can use a wireless barcode scanner and mPOS to take payment immediately, without having to guide a customer all the way back to the traditional POS.

Convenience

Customers don’t have to wait in line to pay, and sales associates are free to move around, going where they are needed. In addition, electronic receipts can be sent directly from the terminal to a customer’s email inbox—eliminating the risk of lost receipts in the event of a return or exchange.

Portability

This is the big thing! Being able to process digital payments means anyone can sell anything anywhere, without the hassle of a cash register. From street vendors to major outlets, those who’ve adopted mPOS report significant increases in sales as a result.

Improved Customer Experience

The mPOS allows staff to treat customers with a much more personal approach, instead of having to be anchored to a single point.

No Long-Term Commitments

Traditional POS systems usually require a contract and long-term commitment. Certain mPOS vendors, such as PayPal Here, don’t require contracts.

The Cons of mPOS

Security

How safe is the mobile POS service, and will your customers trust it? Small businesses might be more vulnerable to a cyber-attack. It is essential to understand the service’s security policies and procedures and for all staff to be able to explain them if customers ask.

Holds on Funds

Some services will hold onto funds longer than the traditional POS systems, so be sure their terms are clear before signing up with any mobile POS service—otherwise you could find yourself in for a shock.

Wireless Connectivity

While this typically applies more to outdoor vendors, an interrupted or unavailable connection can throw a big monkey wrench into your operations. If you can’t be certain that your wireless barcode scanner, mPOS terminal, or smartphone with a card reader will work the vast, vast majority of the time, then it’s possible that mobilizing your POS system isn’t the right call for you.

 

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