The Payments Landscape: An Anthology

Electronic Payments

The convenience store industry remains in flux when it comes to electronic payments. Here are links to some articles to help provide perspective on the issues.

The electronic retail payment space remains in a dynamic state of flux. In some ways it’s not all that different from the first days of the personal computer with multiple technologies not only vying for market space, but for a chance to become the market leader.

While it’s still too early to tell how the payment landscape will shake out and what technologies will prevail, the lion’s share of the discussion has coalesced around two standards: EMV—what the general public has come to know as the “chip card” and mobile payments, most often made from a smartphone.

Each is currently in use (EMV is, in fact, partially mandated) and each has a share of proponents. Healthy discussion and debate continues to surround both, two of the most prominent concerns being security and the upfront costs required for implementation.

As a provider of back office systems to the convenience store industry, SSCS takes an active interest in these developments. Our technology collects information from POS systems processing payment information and transforms it into sales transactions and other statistics that our software consumes and turns into actionable information our customers use to run their businesses. No wonder we’re interested!

And while convenience stores share concerns about electronic payments with the retail industry at-large, a few issues are specific to the markets SSCS serves:

  • The feasibility of mobile payments to work with fleet cards that authorize charges on an auxiliary credit card network (these may require additional information for the customer’s A/R statement such as odometer and driver values).
  • The feasibility of mobile payment use in concert with loyalty programs recorded through the POS.
  • The upfront investment required to be EMV compliant at the POS that many of the smaller stores in our industry are grappling with.

In an effort to help our readers forge an informed opinion that can help them generate effective strategies when adapting to the world of electronic payments, we’re providing links to a few articles we think you’ll find useful in this regard.

We should probably start with a shout out to Conexxus, a non-profit, member-driven technology organization dedicated to the development and implementation of standards, technologies innovation, and advocacy for the convenience store and petroleum market. It’s Conexxus’ business to analyze, through its Electronic Payment Server Working Group, how payments-related technology will affect the industry and to prepare it for future developments in that space. You can navigate around the Conexxus site at www.conexxus.org to see what they offer, but this interview with Executive Director Gray Taylor will provide a flavor of their focus in regards to payments technology.

Cayan is a prominent provider of payment technologies, and while their focus is not specifically the convenience store industry, they have a vested interest in staying on top of electronic payments. A few weeks ago we tweeted out a white paper they had put together that our in-house payments specialist found not only informative, but objective. If you missed it the first time, you can catch it here.

Speaking of our payments specialist, he has been a frequent attendee of the PCATS and Conexxus meetings and teleconferences that take place during the year, and as you would expect he runs across any number of industry experts. If you are interested in the issues surrounding security in our industry, some of which relate to payments security, check out this article one such industry expert wrote for CSP Magazine.

Other items that you may find interesting include:

We hope you find this information useful in broadening your perspective on electronic payments. As the technology evolves, we’ll try to make you aware of the information you need to find out what payments solution works best for your convenience store and enterprise.