Guest Post: Transitioning to a Semi-Integrated Payment Solution and Cloud-based Environment

By Walter H. Allen, SVP and National Sales Manager, Sound Payments 

Many merchants, ISVs and Resellers face significant challenges in the payments industry. EMV certifications, PCI compliance and protecting card data security is enough to keep heads spinning, but what’s more, high costs and evolving technology, make payments expensive, time-consuming and complicated.

Imagine solving security and certification challenges with a simple approach and having access to cost-effective business services that allow merchants to better run their businesses all while increasing revenue and reducing implementation costs for ISVs, developers and resellers.

Many merchants have not transitioned to a terminal that supports EMV, and as transitions take place, the semi-integrated approach is the optimal solution. You have probably heard about semi-integrated payment solutions where card holder data is not shared with the POS and merchant’s back office. The payment terminal interfaces directly with the processor, removing the business software application from PCI scope, eliminating risk to the merchant and the long and painful process of EMV certifications while reducing costs.

That sounds great — and it is — but let’s take it a step further. There are many business services that can really help merchants on a day-to-day basis but require a centralized view of a merchant’s enterprise. By offering a cloud-based environment, one can not only provide all the functions and features of a standard semi-integrated payment solution but also include value-added services that were previously difficult to implement and cost prohibitive to obtain.

The cloud-based semi-integrated solution starts with a very simple API from the POS to a cloud service that enables the full set of payment transactions. The cloud, in turn, communicates directly with the payment devices, eliminating the POS from PCI Scope, removing the processor certification responsibility, and reducing the complexity of managing and monitoring the payment devices. The cloud-based architecture also enables the addition of new business services that can be offered via the cloud without impacting the payment terminal application or the processor certifications. The cloud-based semi-integrated solution adheres to strict PCI standards, encrypts sensitive data E2E (end-to end) and eliminates the EMV burden. And scalable solutions allow for deployment across many merchants via that one, simple API.

Business services, including device management, aggregation and reporting, analytics, accounting and real-time reconciliation, have been expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. But that’s no longer the case.

Aggregation and analytics tools allow for better decision-making to reduce merchants’ expenses and increase profits. With batch aggregation, merchants who have multiple POS devices can consolidate those devices into a single daily report, all while reducing the PCI scope and encapsulating EMV. Synchronization of ledger-to-sales provides real-time reconciliation that significantly reduces time spent manually reviewing reports and trend analysis gives merchants a better view of customer spending patterns.

eComm solutions offer merchants an innovative online store that synchronizes online sales data with storefront devices and allows for online gifts and loyalty while also tracking purchasing patterns and site usage. This is an enterprise-level system that is available for smaller merchants.

Ultimately, the cloud-based, semi-integrated solution is an opportunity for differentiation. Not only does the solution make life easy for merchants, but it also reduces costs and presents a new revenue stream for ISVs, developers and resellers.

Sound Payments does all of the above, including covering payment hardware, providing unparalleled tech support 24/7 (with support in English, Chinese, Hindi and Spanish) from our headquarters in Jacksonville, FL and the business services, at a price that is truly cost effective.

About the Author

Walter Allen is Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager, ISV Channel, for Sound Payments Inc., where he drives sales and revenue for the ISV Channel, and develops long-term partnerships with ISV’s, ISO’s and Merchant Service Providers. A 30-year payments industry veteran, Walter has worked with Verifone, Hypercom, Powa, ID Tech, and NTN Payment Systems. Today with Sound Payments, he continues to help customers and partners navigate the complexities of implementing integrated payment solutions.

This column was originally featured in dETAils, ETA’s monthly newsletter for members. 

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