theSync: The Shake Up About to Happen in the World of Payments

Happy New Year!

I’ve been away from the blog these past couple of weeks but I’m back.  And I’ll be posting here on the new  All of my posts and content will be moving over from but it’s going to take a moment.  Please bare with me as I get my act together over here.

If you’re a business owner you want to make the payment phase of your sales transactions to be very smooth.  In the 21st century many people are opting to use plastic instead of cash.  In 2015 we are seeing the beginnings of a major shakeup in the way consumers will be able to pay for your products and services.  This week, the first edition of theSync on, a prelude to the shake up that’s about to happen with payments.

1. Chip and PIN

For years, many Eurozone, Asian, and South American countries have been accepting smart credit cards instead of the old magstripe cards we use here in the US.  Abroad these cards are known as chip and pin.  Well, that’s about to change.  By October 2015 most financial firms will have forced the adoption of new terminals that will accept both magstripe cards and chip and PIN cards.  Chip and PIN works by reading an encrypted value from the smart chip embedded on the card, once that value is verified by the card issuer, the purchaser then enters their own PIN number to complete the transaction, similar to debit cards.  What’s unknown is whether US banks will accept chip and PIN or rely on chip and signature.  Either way, the types of cards you’ll need to accept is about to change. Good bye swipey.

2. Programmable Cards

Kickstarter’s like Coin and startups like Plastc are changing the way credit cards are handled by consumers.  Both of these companies are creating credit card like devices that will allow consumers to program them with all of their cards.  Using a Coin or Plastc device, I can program it with my bank card, Discover Card, VISA, and AMEX.  When I’m ready to pay, I can tell the device which card to charge to using my smartphone.  Both devices will be magstripe ready, Plastc has a better advantage because it also supports chip and PIN.  The big unknown with both of these technologies is whether or not merchants will accept strange looking cards at payment terminals.

3. CurrenC

Mixing it up with the banks, Wal-Mart, CVS, and their ilk are launching their own payment system using smartphones, QR-codes and optical readers at payment terminals.  CurrenC works similarly to Starbucks’ app in which a unique 2D barcode is associated with your credit card account.  You tap the pay button on the app, hold your phone’s screen to the reader, and the payment terminal charges your customers card in the background.  CurrenC made news last year because they specifically blocked Apple Pay from being used at their partner stores.  We’ll see what happens next.

4. Contactless Payments

Google Wallet may have been around forever, but it will be Apple who makes contactless payments mainstream.  Apple has bankrolled a huge marketing campaign used for educating iPhone 6 carrying consumers and it’s working.  Ordinary people are now using smartphones to pay for their coffee, groceries, and clothes at retailers.  You’ll need an NFC terminal, that’s near field communication to make this work, but if you’re a small business who has an iPhone clientele you will want to support aPay.

5. Paypal and Square

We all know about PayPal and Square terminals being used on iPads by the boy with the lemonade stand, but recently I’ve noticed more and more businesses getting rid of big Micros machines in favor of a cheap stand, a PayPal swipe dongle, and an iPad.  Consumers are no longer fearful of the minuscule device and many business are saving monthly merchant fees by switching over.

These are 5 technologies will be seeing more of in 2015 that will shake up the payments system.  Please share your thoughts about how these technologies will play out in the comments.

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