Big Announcements from Poynt and Verifone: Point-of-sale Industry Is On Fire

This morning there were two big announcements from two very different point-of-sales (POS) providers, Verifone and Poynt. Verifone has been providing POS terminals for the last 30 years and has established a presence in 150 countries while Poynt is a POS startup founded by Osama Bedier, former head of Google Wallet and a former PayPal executive. Poynt announced its series B round of $28 million to help it build and ship terminals before the year is out. Growth equity fund Oak HC/FT led the round. Stanford-StartX Fund, Matrix Partners, Webb Investment Network, and Nyca Partners also contributed. It also announced today that both its hardware and software platforms have received PCI PTS, PCI-DSS and EMV-certification, making it the first fully certified smart terminal on the market today.The world has embarked on new era of connected commerce where merchant technology needs to match what consumers carry every day. Poynt is leading the charge, said Poynt founder and CEO, Osama Bedier. Through the dedication of our team and the support of our investors, the Poynt Smart Terminal will start shipping this quarter.

Verifone announced the launch of Verifone Engage, the next generation family of payment devices that globally redefines what’s expected of point-of-sale (POS) hardware and software. Verifone Engage will have features like storing and displaying rich media for advertising opportunities, push coupons and push offers on-the-spot, reward programs for frequent shoppers, loyalty programs and more. Verifone Engage is the company’s first-ever, fully-integrated, Linux-based product family, encompassing a complete range of payment solutions for merchants, acquirers, and service providers. It is the result of a new strategy at Verifone to bring unique value to the POS and the consumer experience with intuitive, connected and commerce-enabled solutions. Verifone Engage will also feature a payments app marketplace connected to the POS to offer customized options to merchants.

We’re leading the industry to dramatically transform the retail POS to be much more than a box that takes card-based payments, said Glen Robson, EVP, Global Head of Terminals Solutions, Verifone. The Verifone Engage family of products is a major paradigm shift in our approach to the point of sale. We are leveraging the power and performance of our open and flexible architecture to bring an entirely different level of interaction between consumers and merchants. With a two-way conversation that can happen at the counter and anywhere in store, we are making the shopping experience more profitable for merchants and more rewarding for consumers.

Looks like there is a hot race between POS or smart terminal providers in the US. Verifone Engage’s app marketplace feature is in direct competition to Clover’s app marketplace. Poynt is no different. With the PoyntOS and the help of 3rd party developers, the Poynt Smart Terminal also offers an app marketplace to bring merchants the tools and technology to manage every facet of their businesses. Verifone sells its multi-payment terminal for around $300 and Poynt will be selling it for $299. In terms of price, Verifone and Poynt are closer competitors because PayPal ($149) and Square ($49) are in a lower price range. Almost all these top competing terminals offer multi-payment channels. What Verifone is offering via Verifone Engage is not very different and new to the industry. The leading iPad POS company Revel Systems and many other POS systems offer loyalty and rewards program integration with the POS.

It will be really interesting to see how far this competition goes, and who wins. On one hand, there are experienced players like Verifone while there are startups like Poynt on the other side. Companies like Square and Revel Systems are in the middle of the boat. Even though Poynt is a startup, it has a few of the most experienced people from the industry. As already mentioned, Poynt’s founder Osama Bedier is the former head of Google Wallet and a former PayPal executive. Poynt also announced some big hires in the company today. Tony Miranz, former CEO and co-founder of VUDU, a Walmart company, was recently named Poynt’s COO. Aaron Leiba, a former Intel, Google, Apple, and Palm executive, was appointed VP of hardware engineering, and Musaab At-Taras, a former eBay and PayPal executive who most recently served as PayPal’s head of global strategic integrations, has joined Poynt as VP of software development. Verifone, on the other hand has been in the industry since a long time now and it has the industry experience rolled in with it.

Let the POS Games begin!