The “World Terminal” – Preparing the POS
for the Multi-Form Factor Future

With the advent of EMV in a growing number of geographies and a multiplicity of payment form factors – chip, contactless, NFC, and the trusty old magstripe – proliferating globally, there appears to be a growing need for payment terminals capable of supporting the growing number of ways to pay. Even laggard markets such as the United States have increasingly shown serious signs of contemplating EMV adoption.

The primary goal of Mercator’s report, The “World Terminal:” Preparing the POS for the Multi-Form Factor Future, is to explore the range of major global terminal vendors’ offerings of POS hardware accepting the aforementioned form factors and to highlight selected terminals currently on the market along the lines of number and types of form factors accepted, cost, and their ability to connect to value-added services in the cloud.

The merchant services space, especially in the US, is revising its thinking around POS hardware as it faces new economic realities, as concerns associated with EMV migration arise, and as the mobile revolution evolves and impacts consumer commerce.

Highlights of this report include:

The World Terminal concept illustrates the direction in which POS devices are currently moving, toward payment acceptance devices able to accommodate multiple form factors and be deployed in any geography.

The rise of chip-based payments – both EMV contact and RFID and NFC contactless – in a growing number of countries, and among multinational merchants, is a major driver.

Other emerging form factors, like 2D barcodes and biometrics, are awaiting broader adoption but could still impact device development and merchant future-proofing concerns.

The big 3 terminal manufacturers have begun to introduce multi-form factor capable devices, with integrated (or modular) support for magstripe, contactless, and EMV, in the US – the lone holdout from EMV migration among G20 countries.

Next generation point-of-sale devices are morphing to appear like their newest competitor – the smartphone. Cloud-based applications, and the ‘app store’ paradigm, will deliver more value-added services to the point-of-sale.


“Payment terminal OEMs should be thinking about their next generation products in such a way that their planning accommodates a more application-centric paradigm, where value-added services can provide true differentiation between offerings,” David Fish, Senior Analyst in Mercator Advisory Group’s Payments Group and author of the report comments. “Within this ‘app store’ model, incubation of future innovations can occur that could support the universal payment acceptance devices we refer to in this report as the “World Terminal.” Not only would global support for multinational merchants’ terminal estates be possible, the flexibility afforded to clients from cloud-based terminal management could more-readily support new and emerging products, updated processing rules, security mandates, and even emerging form factors as they enter the market.”

This report is 22 pages long and has 7 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Apple; AT&T; Bank of America; Barclaycard US; Bayometric; Bell ID; Bump Technologies; Cimbal; DeviceFidelity; Discover Financial; ExxonMobil; Federal Reserve; First Data; Heartland Payment Systems; Hypercom; Ingenico; JPMorgan Chase; MasterCard; Motally; Nokia; PayByTouch; PayPal; Shopkick; Square; Tip2Pay; T-Mobile; United Bank Card; United Nations Federal Credit Union; US Bank; VeriFone; Verizon; Visa; ViVotech; Voice Commerce Ltd.; Wal-Mart; Way Systems; Wells Fargo.

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About Mercator Advisory Group
Mercator Advisory Group is the leading, independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world’s largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors.