Commentary

Mobile Commerce & the Attack on the Cash Register

Cash-Register-BBIf nothing else is happening relating to mobile payments, the trusty old cash register is under a full-blown assault.

Just within the last few days, several major mobile payment providers took aim at the old physical money changing machine.

Square launched its new stand -- called, what else: Square Stand – for IPads, the hot checkout device of choice. The device comes with a card reader, of course, and features accessories like kitchen printers, barcode scanners and cash drawers, just like that old cash register.

PayPal, the best known of the payment platforms, introduced its Cash for Registers program that involves waiving transaction fees for retailers using a PayPal Here package, which comprises an iPad, stand, card reader and cash drawer instead of those old cash registers.

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Not to be left out of the attack on cash registers, Groupon kicked off Breadcrumb POS, a free iPad app targeted at replacing, you guessed it, traditional cash registers. The deal comes with free processing on a designated amount of credit card transactions.

The reality is there’s some serious money passing through both cash registers as well as the new mobile payment systems.

For example, Square says it’s processing more than $15 billion in payments annually with PayPal on track to hit $20 billion this year for just its mobile payment part.

All of these mobile systems are targeting small businesses, which makes sense. Most businesses are small businesses, with government counts placing the number at around 28 million. Many of those small businesses have cash registers.

The race is on to determine which small businesses end up with which system, since once a business makes its selection, they’re essentially out of the game. It’s unlikely a small business will change mobile platform systems once they purchase hardware and accessories.

The question is whether the consumer will be swayed or influenced in any way if their payment is taken via an iPad-based payments platform or, heaven forbid, an actual cash register.

Do you think the small business cash register is doomed?

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6 comments about "Mobile Commerce & the Attack on the Cash Register".
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  1. Paluel Flagg from Street Savings, May 16, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.

    Perhaps the days of the cash register are numbered, but SMB's are a traditional group. Change will come slowly. BTW, I think there is a typo regarding 28 billion SMB's.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 16, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.

    Yes, Paluel, they are, so it will be very interesting to track adoption speed (and thanks for pointing out the "28 million," which is now correct).

  3. Sid Raisch from Advantage Development System, May 16, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.

    The inevitability is unavoidable. It would seem un-natural at some point for businesses to NOT use tablet or smart devices in transactions, not to offer to email receipts, etc. Now the cost and simplicity is taken care of. What are we waiting for?

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 16, 2013 at 8:35 p.m.

    Good question, Sid. The list may include inertia, lack of investment dollars, lack of tech knowledge or platform confusion, so guess we will have to watch how this ultimately plays out. Yo may right that it is just a matter of time.

  5. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, May 17, 2013 at 4:59 a.m.

    Retailers have been using devices based on Windows CE for 10 years.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 17, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.

    Correct, Pete, the large retailers all have relatively sophisticated POS systems in place while many small retailers still use the trusty ol' register.

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