You could be forgiven for being unclear on what exactly mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) is as well as mPOS systems.
Let’s break it down into its constituent parts.
Retail has been around for ages, but even mechanical point-of-sale systems only showed up in the late 19th century — 1879 to be exact, when brothers James and John Ritty invented the earliest mechanical cash register which they called “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier,” in Dayton, Ohio.
The post-Civil War boom led to increased traffic at bars and shops, which meant businesses had to staff up. Many of these business had to hire strangers for the first time — strangers who they didn’t trust as much as the family they likely had accepting cash beforehand.
The word incorruptible might seem out of place in that name, but it hints at some of the key problems that the first cash register worked to solve.
- The cash register displayed the price on the customer’s side in large print so the employee couldn’t overcharge and pocket the extra
- It recorded transactions so the employee couldn’t pretend they didn’t happen and pocket the whole bill
- It rang a bell when it opened making it even harder for employees to hide
One last fun fact: The practice of pricing goods to include a peculiar number of cents like 49 or 99 came about from untrusting employers too since such prices were much more likely to require change — and thus require ringing up a sale on the cash register — than prices that were round numbers.
As phones became mobile, its users have become more mobile themselves and have come to expect the extra convenience of paying with a credit card.
As those same phones became smarter, businesses have been more able to use smartphones and similarly portable devices to act as point-of-sale systems.
Mobile point-of-sale systems
Such portable point-of-sale systems are mobile point-of-sale systems!
There are a number of options out there when it comes to mPOS systems. SumUp is the leading mPOS company in Europe, where it has been disrupting the industry since building its product from scratch five years ago.
SumUp also has a credit card machine that charges no flat fees yet travels in your pocket.
Certainly, mPOS systems will continue to help retailers customize payment options to meet specific needs. I look forward to seeing how such products evolve as we move forward.