Small and medium businesses (SMEs) and micro-merchants find it increasingly beneficial to use SoftPOS solutions to accept payments. So, many present-day shopping cart, PayFac, and SaaS platforms, are considering addition of SoftPOS support to their omnichannel solutions.

In our article we will explain, how soft point of sale solutions emerged and why they become so popular.

Emergence of SoftPOS

Several decades ago, if you wanted to accept card payments, you needed a payment terminal to swipe credit cards. Later emergence of integrated circuit technologies allowed card networks to introduce EMV cards and EMV compliant POS terminals. Still later on, NFC circuits made it possible to accept payments in a contactless way. So, technically, NFC technologies paved the way for the advance of contactless payments. Lastly, we should mention card readers, that gain popularity as mobile devise become more affordable.

In the post-pandemic world, more people started preferring NFC contactless to other payment methods, such as EMV contact or cash. As a result, merchants need tools which would enable them to accept these NFC contactless payments. Technically, to accept a contactless payment, you can still use an NFC-enabled payment terminal. However, terminal fulfillment, provisioning, and maintenance are all additional costs. SoftPOS technology allows merchants to eliminate both these costs and the need for the terminal solution altogether. But, wait, what is a SoftPOS?

SoftPOS definition and advantages

A SoftPOS is a special app, that a merchant downloads and installs on an NFC-enabled device. We should stress, that if you want to accept payments through a mobile device, it requires an in-built NFC circuit. An NFC-enabled mobile device with a SoftPOS app installed on it, essentially, becomes a contactless payment terminal. Let us list the key advantages of the solution.

  1. No terminal required! Indeed, the major benefit of the technology is that all the hardware you need is your mobile device. There is no need to implement special POS terminals at all. So, the terminal-free solution works perfectly if you need high mobility.
  2. A SoftPOS solution has to be PA-DSS certified. But a small or micro-merchant, using the solution does not need to go through any additional PCI audit procedures. Usually, it’s just the good old SAQ.
  3. The maximum allowed amount of a contactless transaction is, usually, rather small. So, NFC contactless payments made through a SoftPOS system are not an exception. Processing of larger amounts requires PIN entry. The innovative PIN on Glass technology allows customers to input PIN right into the device’s screen. Thus, it enables the merchant to increase the maximum transaction amounts without involving additional hardware.
  4. SoftPOS solutions work only on Android-based devices. Similar solutions for Mac are not yet developed. On the other hand, turning the software developed for Android-based terminals into a SoftPOS app requires relatively small effort.
  5. Many present-day mobile POS platforms support SoftPOS functionality.

Concluding remarks

SoftPOS systems have some considerable advantages in comparison to conventional payment terminals. The benefits of these systems are particularly relevant for micro-merchants and SMEs, including those from developing countries.

To get more information on SoftPOS systems, you are welcome to check out the UniRead module of our UniPay Gateway solution. It is a licensable omnichannel payment gateway product with open source code.