EDC’s Samee Zafar met with Osama Bedier, CEO and Co-Founder of Poynt. Poynt’s mission is to fix a broken commerce infrastructure by bringing developers, distributors and merchants together on an open platform. Founded in 2013 by Google and PayPal veteran Osama Bedier, Poynt is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.
What can the new Poynt terminal do that others cannot?
I can go on forever with things Poynt can uniquely do similar to how you might compare today’s iPhone with a Nokia 1110. However, the most important comparison is that other terminals are built in the most inexpensive way possible with one single purpose – secure card acceptance today. Consumer behavior will force more commerce change in the next 5 years than in the past 50. So Poynt is built to address the future of retail and take advantage of it. It is a multipurpose device certified for PIN acceptance but defined by its software – so terminal is just an app on Poynt.
In fact,f it’s one of several different apps including a cash register, ability to send email/text receipts, video customer support & screen sharing, even the ability to know when it will run out of receipt paper and order it for delivery. Most importantly, because of an always on internet connection (Wifi, Ethernet or 3G), Poynt can receive software updates with new features or apps not imagined at manufacturing time – so it always gets better. The hardware is built to securely run apps made by other developers without ever impacting or compromising EMV or PCI certification – this make its capabilities near-unlimited.
Best of all, Poynt leverages the mobile device manufacturing approach to bring all these capabilities to every merchant at roughly the same cost of single purpose terminals. Competition among app developers also makes for reasonable, monthly subscription fees instead of a huge up-front cost. Finally, Poynt shares app revenue with the acquirer so everyone wins.
Do you think offline and online payment processing will converge in terms of hardware and software?
Yes, I think we’ll see convergence. But nothing in payments changes fast, I think it will take at least 10 years. Chip cards, accounting for most of the world’s $20T in consumer electronic payments, are a 42-year-old technology. My old employer, PayPal, where we pioneered digital wallets is now 19 years old and has only taken 2% of the card market. GoogleWallet brought NFC payments to smartphones over 6 years ago and mobile tap is just now beginning to see relevance. That’s because consumers take a long time to adjust to new payment habits and most merchants cannot afford to lose even 1% of sales by dropping the lowest used payment methods. So the hardware to accept ALL relevant payment methods will be required for some time to come. However, the software and processing side is already seeing convergence and will only accelerate. The need for a single back-end to process, lookup, refund, analyze, make recommendations and resume sessions across channels will be necessary for survival 5 years from now.
Will mobile B2C payments finally take off?
There are already quite a few examples of this happening in small pockets. But I don’t see the signs that the whole world is ready to make mobile B2C the norm anytime soon. It will likely happen by country – China and India are best poised. Broad digital wallet/bank account adoption is a pre-requisite.
What do you do in your spare time? What are your interests?
Poynt 🙂 Also swimming, flying drones and hanging out with Nancy & our (5) kids!