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Standalone vs. integrated vs. semi-integrated payment terminals

Posted by Lisa Middleton on September 12, 2016 at 8:00 PM

What are the differences between the types of payment terminals available?We regularly receive questions from customers about the differences between standalone, integrated and semi-integrated payment terminals. In this post, we highlight the differences and explain the pros and cons to help you decide which is best for you.

Standalone terminals

Standalone terminals do exactly what they say on the tin. They stand alone. Which means they’re great out of the box when you need to be up and running with payment acceptance fast.

There are some drawbacks though, which may become more significant as your business grows. Standalone terminals do not talk to your till system. So staff must ring up the sales total on the till and then key in this amount on the card terminal. There’s always the potential for keying errors. Double-keying may also add to the check-out time.

Once your business expands with 3-4 terminals per store across 5-6 stores, standalone terminals create more work behind the scenes. It’s as well to be aware of this when you’re planning your business.

As they are not networked together, each terminal generates its own end-of-day report, which needs to reconciled against your acquirer statement. If you want to grow your business across stores, countries or channels, you need to consider whether this back-office reconciliation commitment is scalable and sustainable.

Integrated payment terminals

Simply put: integrated payment terminals are the opposite to standalone ones.

They are networked. They talk to your till and back-office inventory management system. The PIN entry device fires up automatically if the customer chooses to pay by card. (There is no need for your staff to key in the transaction amount separately for card payments.) And you get consolidated end-of-day reports for card payment. We offer these by country, store and/or terminal.

Our ANYpay POS solution for integrated terminal implementations is plug and play. All the configuration is done on the back-end, so there’s no need for in-store visits or terminal-by-terminal updates. This gives you maximum convenience with minimum disruption. Our solution also helps boost security and reduce PCI DSS scope, as it transmits encrypted tokens during the payment process.

An integrated solution often means more parts have to be…well…integrated. So there may be more up-front costs related to project time and complexity. However, an integrated solution sets you up for better, faster expansion.

Semi-integrated terminals

Semi-integrated terminals are part-way between standalone and integrated terminals. Some people regard them as a bridge or stopgap between these options.

If you are looking to remove certain elements from your PCI DSS scope or EMV certification scope during an EMV rollout, a semi-integrated solution may help cut costs, complexity and time-to-market.

Certain elements of a semi-integrated solution can be pre-certified with acquirers. Other elements, such as the till system, inventory management system and middleware out to the acquirer can also be removed from scope.

In summary

There are no hard and fast, right and wrong approaches to choosing the best payment terminal for your business. It really does depend on your business, what you sell, how, to whom and where. It also depends on your strategic objectives over the medium to longer term.

Have a look at our factsheet below and for a free 30-minute consultation about your particular needs, contact us on:

Telephone: 0844 209 4370                      

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