It amazes me no one has leveraged modern changes in Financial Technology and Payments to remake Point of Sale devices. No one, that is, until I saw the new Square Terminal and realized a long-overdue
update revolution is underway.
To be sure, there are lots of Point of Sale (POS) solutions out there — from legacy offerings like Odin-Inc or Microsoft RMS to more modern offerings like Lightspeed — but none appear to have realized the opportunity that exists in completely rethinking a Point of Sale device and its corresponding systems. Couldn’t a POS be made that’s portable thanks to an all-day lithium ion battery, that’s WiFi-equipped so you can take payments anywhere (because you can tether the POS to your phone’s hotspot), that’s tied into your customers, that has easy to configure inventory, that can link to an online store, and that can be an outcome-based device used for anything?
Such a device could handle sales of course, but why not also donations? event registrations? tickets? school store? church coffee bar? a few extra hours of daycare? flying cars?
Well, that’s exactly what Square Terminal seems to have done. Mine arrived earlier this week when I was out of town. I unboxed it yesterday and started to see what’s possible. Of course, my angle is to stress test it for nonprofits. Is there a way Square Terminal (for a one-time fee of $400 for the device and then just Square’s ongoing 2.6% + $0.10 transaction fee) could become the backbone for a nonprofit’s entire payments infrastructure?
If you can have a secure POS in your (or your volunteer’s) jacket pocket that can take payments, donations, gift shop purchases, and sell tickets — why in the world would you want one that looks like it belongs at the end of a grocery store checkout — or worse, in a convenience store where it only works over the last analog phone line but still costs $20/month for “hardware support” – SRSLY!?
Here’s an overly-long (25 minute) unboxing video if you want to see my take on all the details in a real-time setting from someone who was frustrated enough with current point of sale offerings to shell out $400 from my own pocket just to know what’s [now] possible:
Thank you for this, @jack. In case Mr. Dorsey ends up seeing this, I do think the Square Hardware team deserves a ginormous Xmas bonus.
Of course, the downside is if you go this route, you’ll have to figure out a way to get all your payments back into your proprietary data systems. The daunting prospect of figuring out how to import all those transactions leads me to think integration will become one helluva lever. Maybe this is just the beginning. Maybe it’s a wake-up call and before you know it, all kinds of vendors will start releasing modern payment devices that can do everything Square Terminal can AND magically integrate with proprietary data systems.
For now, Square seems to have dropped the mic and taken the lead with a modern
Point of Sale device “Terminal”. So, so good.
Try for yourself / your organization: https://squareup.com/us/en/hardware/terminal