Wireless POS Tech Trims Retailers Costs

Some retailers discover that wireless has a hidden benefit beyond convenience: It can reduce some transaction fees.

Barb Seitzs craft business is doing well, but the owner of Barbs Custom Sewing needs to sells many of her products on the road, often at trade shows.

Todays wireless POS (point-of-sale) technology allows her to process orders in the field, but she has received an unexpected bonus: lower transaction fees because she rarely if ever needs to pay a "card not present" charge.

The typical retail technology arguments for wireless investments revolve around convenience, speed and efficiency.

But as retailers push the portable POS units well beyond the storefront—to delivery people, repair technicians and sales reps working shows—they also are finding it much easier to never pay the "away from a terminal" charge of which credit card companies are so fond.

The specific rates that retailers pay to credit card companies vary depending on the retail establishments size, the credit card and many other variables.

But typical direct-connection rates are about 2.1 percent, compared with a 2.5 percent for "card-not-present" and as much as 4 percent if the merchant has to phone in the charge, said Donald Brown, a product manager in the wireless group at Moneris Solutions Inc., a wireless POS vendor.

"There are cost justifications that can be made from several different standpoints," Brown said, citing a restaurants ability to theoretically reduce the time between a customer giving a credit card for payment and when the customer is able to leave.

"It can take about seven minutes from when you ask for your check and when you get it," Brown said. "If youre saving about seven minutes per table, you can probably fit in more tables per server per night."

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