Submitted by Randall Radic as part of our contributors program.
At the present juncture, most analysts are bullish on high-tech, especially the area of mobile payment options, which everyone acknowledges is the wave of the future. The only question confronting investors is which wave to catch. There are a lot of them out there. In fact, one industry analyst contends new ones are introduced daily by smaller companies and start-ups. Square is probably the most prominent.
But hold on! NCR (NCR), one of the largest manufacturers of payment processing equipment, recently introduced the first cloud-based point of sale software platform, called NCR Silver (www.NCRSilver.com). NCR Silver enables small and independent retailers to manage transactions, track sales and inventory, process credit cards and market to customers on both point of sale touch-screen terminals and Apple mobile devices, including iPad and iPhone.
NCR Silver’s advantage over its competitors is simple: NCR is able to offer mobile-payment software to current or potential merchant-clients and an “add-on” to its present equipment and software offerings. Since NCR Silver is the brainchild of one of the largest payments equipment providers, it is easy for merchants to integrate into their present systems.
If a merchant buys a product from an upstart or Square, for example, integration is not smooth and stress-free. In fact, it usually requires the merchant to completely transform his entire system, which means purchasing new equipment and then familiarizing himself and his staff with it.
NCR Silver allows merchants to accept card payment through a point of sale terminal or a mobile device. Square does not have that flexibility, meaning the merchant must have two different systems, one for regular credit cards and another for mobile devices.
Wednesday’s release of the fifth generation iPhone served to strengthen NCR Silver’s position in the marketplace. Apple did not embed NFC (near field communications) chips into the iPhone 5. Instead of snuggling up to NFC technology, Apple has decided to develop Passbook, a moblile app that pulls together loyalty cards, tickets, and coupons. Passbook will not allow users to link credit and debit cards.
NCR Silver’s downloadable app fills the NFC vacuum in the iPhone 5, allowing users to link their credit and debit cards, thus making mobile payments. In fact, at the existing moment, NCR Silver is way ahead of everyone else. Isis, the mobile payment system being developed by a joint venture of wireless carriers, including AT&T Inc., T-Mobile, Vodafone, and Verizon Wireless, has been delayed for undisclosed reasons. This delay puts NCR Silver in the cat-bird seat.
The market research company Gartner Inc., predicts mobile payment transactions will grow to around $600 billion world-wide by 2016, up from $172 billion this year. Capital One Financial, American Express, and J.P. Morgan Chase have indicated they will provide mobile payment capability to their card customers as soon as possible.
NCR Silver is available now.