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Remoter than you think

In the dim and distant past, to change the channel on the TV, people used to have to get up off their seat, walk to the television, and press the button on the box. Then came the revolution, the remote control!

Some may say this revolution eclipses other more pivotal innovations, like the discovery of penicillin or putting a man on the Moon. A little tongue in cheek perhaps, but the introduction of the remote control has had a profound impact on our relationship with televisions and other electronic devices. It has increased our appetite to find other ways to save effort and enjoy more time sitting on our sofas.

So, in the light of all things remote, how does this apply to the payments industry? We still go to stores, reach for a wallet or a phone when we want to pay, and input our PIN on a terminal to make things happen. Does this mean that the remote revolution has bypassed payment terminals and the payment industry? Not so! Dig a little deeper and you can quickly see how far payment solutions and services have come and how much can be achieved remotely.

Meet mark...

Mark is a merchant who has never taken card payments, but his business has grown to a point where his customers are asking to pay by card, and if he doesn’t offer them this option, he’s going to lose business. He wants some personal advice, so he books a virtual appointment with his bank to speak to someone online over a video chat. This answers all his questions and Mark is ready to place his order for his new AXIUM Android payment terminal from Ingenico.

Getting started is quite simple and something he can do online. With a few clicks, Mark’s shiny new terminal is on route and should be with him in a couple of days. He tracks its journey as it works its way towards him and once delivered, takes it out of the box and plugs it in. He follows the on-screen instructions and before long his new AXIUM DX8000 terminal is up and running and he’s ready to take payment. As the days pass and his customers make use of card payments on his new terminal, Mark realises he’s still missing out on some sales. There are lots of tourists who visit his shop who want to use more exotic payment methods, like Alipay or UnionPay, that he doesn’t offer.

Mark wasn’t ready for this, however being a curious sort, he decides to message his bank to see if they can help. After a few minutes of online chat with his bank, he discovers that these payment options are available and decides it would be worthwhile to add one of them. He simply needs to wait for the software download to update his terminal. To avoid disruption to trading, he chooses to receive the update overnight when his shop is closed. Morning comes and his terminal is ready to go, a paper receipt printed out telling him that the software has been successfully downloaded and he’s able to accept payments with Alipay.

Adding this new payment option gets Mark thinking. What else could his terminal do? After all, his customers seem to naturally trust this powerful little device and the role it plays without asking questions, maybe it could do more? With his curiosity piqued, Mark reaches out again to his bank, asking what else is available.

The answer surprises him, as there is a wealth of different actions the terminal can perform that never even crossed his mind. In fact, thinking about his terminal solely for payment seems a narrow view. He contemplates all the tasks he must do during the day and the opportunities and challenges his customers present, considering ways to help his business. He browses Ingenico’s App Showcase and finds an app that can track what’s been sold to better manage his inventory, as well as another to reward customer loyalty. In the blink of an eye, Mark’s signed up and two new apps have been downloaded and are ready to go on his terminal. Just like finding new solutions on his mobile phone, this has all been remarkably easy.

Mark’s business continues to thrive, and his payment terminal gets on with its job. But this past week, Mark has noticed a couple of error messages. Nothing that has stopped him taking payments, but enough to be a nagging concern. What would he do if it stopped working, how could he get it fixed, what if he ended up without it for a few days? The thought of not being able to use all the services that he’s introduced to his day-to-day business gives Mark the cold sweats. He picks up the phone to call the Ingenico helpdesk number he remembers receiving when he signed up with his bank. Better to deal with it now, so he dials the number and gets connected to John.  

John reassures him that he can help and starts by checking the terminal’s self-diagnostic report. Mark had thought that to fix the terminal he would have to work through a bunch of menus guided by John, or at worst make a trip to the post office to ship the terminal back for repair. Instead, he can see that John has already connected to his terminal and is using remote diagnostics to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. John quickly spots the problem; some rogue terminal settings are causing the terminal to misbehave. With the press of a few buttons, John has made some changes, pushed them to the terminal and Mark is back in business. Feeling relieved, Mark gets back to work, happy that his problem was solved so easily.

For Mark, starting and making the best of his payment journey has been straightforward. What’s even better, he’s been able to do it all whilst maintaining card payments for his customers and continuing to run his business. In fact, the only time he’s had to take his terminal outside his door has been to use his new AXIUM EX6000 mobile terminal that he’s just added for his outdoor café customers. Who said being remote meant foregoing the personal touch; for Mark it’s all been plain sailing!

Simon Fairbairn

Simon Fairbairn, Head of Professional Services, EMEA for Terminals, Solutions and Services at Ingenico, a Worldline brand

As the Professional Services lead for EMEA, Simon Fairbairn's role is simply to help our customers look to the future, craft strategies to develop their business and apply technologies and services to reinvent and re-imagine how they make good on their payment vision. Simon has 26 years of experience in technology, consulting and finance environments, where he’s worked to secure sustainable growth, cost reduction and profit improvement with a focus on delivering results through effective leadership and the adoption of innovative technologies.

Simon is passionate about helping our customers navigate the complexity of the payments landscape and drawing on the full breadth of Ingenico to help them solve their problems, realise their opportunities and create value wherever we can touch their business.