Google Wallet creator builds a new mobile payment rival


An executive who led the rollout of Google Wallet has developed a new all-in-one credit card processing machine that can replace checkout readers that only accept magnetic strip cards.

The device, called Poynt Smart Terminal, was created by Osama Bedier, who thinks the future of payments may not solely rely on near-field communication (NFC) technology.

"The Poynt terminal represents a breakthrough in how small businesses can grow and flourish," says the company on its website. "Tools for better merchant intelligence and stronger customer connection, delivered with unique style and cachet, help you stand out in your customers' minds."

The device can accept payments from EMV, or chip cards, Bluetooth systems, NFC systems and QR code payments. The device is essentially a nonpartisan payment system for small retailers to accept all different types of payments. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa and is a global standard to aid inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (chip cards) and IC card-capable terminals and ATMs to authenticate credit- and debit-card transactions.

While the device is not yet available commercially, merchants can preorder it for $299. It is set to ship sometime next year. Poynt is targeting smaller merchants with annual sales between $50,000 to $1 million.

The Poynt Smart Terminal includes a 7-inch screen that looks much like a tablet. On one side merchants can input information such as price, and use another, smaller 4-inch display on the customer side for things like PIN codes and scanning codes.

On the software side, Poynt is based on Android and can get apps and install updates for customer loyalty programs and accounting.

Poynt comes at a time of strategic shift in how payments are handled. With systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet becoming more popular, it seems as though NFC payments are the way of the future. However, it would obviously be unwise for merchants to do away with card-processing terminals just yet.

Poynt faces a lot of competition. Firms such as Square are growing fast in the payment industry and there is at least one company, called First Data, which offers a product very similar to Poynt.

"It will be difficult coming into a somewhat saturated marketplace with a brand that merchants are relatively unfamiliar with," said Jordan McKee, senior analyst at 451 research.

Poynt is being funded by Google's venture capital arm Matrix Partners, along with Webb Investment Network, which was created by ex-eBay executive and Visa board member Maynard Webb. The amount of funding that Poynt has received has not yet been disclosed.

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