Implementing Payments at Self-service Kiosks

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As reviewed in previous payment trend articles, we are seeing increased adoption of self-service check-out and ordering solutions in both retail and QSR locations. These applications range from self-service ordering kiosks at QSRs such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell to self-check-out stations in retailers like Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Implementation of self-service kiosks is not a simple process. The hardware design, user interface, payments integration, physical location, production flow and capacity planning, consumer delivery, adoption and training all require careful thought, planning and successful implementation to insure meeting high consumer usage and satisfaction objectives.

There are several things to consider when evaluating how to implement payments on your self-service kiosk: what payment methods to accept, ease of consumer use, insuring card data security, achieving PCI compliance, ability to update software, ease of support and how to repair payment components.

Fortunately there is a way to for most merchants to simplify the payments piece – use the payment terminal currently used for assisted check-out in the store.

Whether retailers use off the shelf or custom designed kiosk hardware, there are two general approaches to adding payment functionality to the kiosk: unattended payment components integrated into a custom enclosure or using an attached standard countertop payment terminal. Both approaches offer benefits as well as disadvantages, although for most implementations, I believe, using the standard PCI payment terminal, installed already in the store, offers clear and substantial benefits.

The primary advantage to using unattended payment components is the ability to more elegantly integrate the payment component into the kiosk design.

In cases where the kiosk is in a totally unstaffed location, the additional security of the integrated payment components may dictate this being the only viable option. Another use case for unattended payment components is outdoor installations. Kiosks can operate in hot, cold or rainy weather. Standard countertop terminals are designed for indoor use only.

However for indoor and in-store locations, there are a multitude of benefits available by using the same payment terminal already supported in the store at the self-service kiosk, such as Verifone’s MX925, M400, e355, or e280. These benefits include:

  • The same SCA semi-integrated or XPI fully integrated payment methods can be used.
  • Clients who use Point Classic, Point Enterprise, RTS or FIPay can use the same payment management solution.
  • The same payment methods will be supported.
  • The same processor and EMV certifications can be used.
  • The same encryption, tokenization and encryption key management schemes can be used.
  • The same estate management solution can be used for trouble shooting, software updates and PCI compliance.
  • No additional payment system training is needed for store or support personnel.

The greatest benefit may be the assurance that consumers feel when they first encounter your new kiosk implementation. We are all creatures of habit, and most of us don’t like change. We fear standing in front of your new kiosk and looking like a fool. At least when we see the familiar payment terminal, we will have the confidence that we know how to complete the payment part of the transaction.

The more your self-service solution emulates your existing payment process, the better. Consumers are used to paying in your stores. They know what payments you accept, how your payment flow works, and they feel safe using a proven payment terminal. Using the same payment terminal in your self-service solution that you use in your regular check-out will speed adoption of your self-service solution and lead to higher consumer satisfaction.

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