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NCR Silver Appears as New Competitor to Square and PayPal Here

Key Facts

  • NCR is the latest big player to enter the market for mobile payments

  • Square and PayPal Here faced with new competitor

  • Card payments via iPad

  • Comprehensive data analyses for merchants

  • Worldwide distribution network with numerous partners

  • Partnerships with Square and PayPal being considered


Source: NCR Silver

The market for mobile payment options is constantly astir. It is currently expanding to include a new component that seeks to appeal to smaller businesses as well as to larger companies who already possess a checkout system.

NCR, a globally operating US firm and market leader in the field of cash dispensing machines, scanner checkout systems and data warehousing, recently announced that it would release NCR Silver as a new product starting in June 2012.

NCR Silver will allow businesses to process card payments via iPad. As with Square and the recently announced PayPal Here, such payments will be made possible through a small device that is attached to an iPad. In this initial step, the iPad replaces the classic point-of-sale terminal. In addition, the accompanying app provides numerous possibilities for collecting and processing different types of data:

  • Transaction and payment data

  • Inventory, including information on receipt and shipping of goods

  • Personalized customer data with purchase history and purchasing habits

Particularly attractive in this regard are the opportunities that arise from the processing of this data and the subsequent Customer Relationship Management. For example, this system will allow businesses to send emails to individual customers who fulfill specific criteria, such as the purchase of particular products.

NCR Silver is thereby competing with Square, iZettle and PayPal Here. In terms of its features and functions, NCR Silver does not differ greatly from Square and iZettle. However, in contrast to these companies, NCR possesses a global distribution network due to its direct cooperation with the largest firms in the fields of telecommunications and business, in the finance industry as well as with airlines. This provides merchants with the advantage of being able to access a personal support network quickly and easily whenever necessary.

While iZettle and Square provide their devices to merchants free of charge, NCR seems to be planning a fee-based model for renting hardware to businesses. It is not yet clear what exactly this model will look like. At the moment there is talk of a fixed price of US$79 per month as well as of fees dependent on the scope of functions and the revenue of the individual businesses. Also as yet unknown is to what extent a service agreement will be linked to the device. The idea of a fee-based model suggests that NCR will seek to gain clients among larger businesses with corresponding profit margins. Square and iZettle, in contrast, primarily appeal to businesses for whom expensive equipment is not economical. This difference in target groups could be another reason why NCR is seeking to negotiate with Square as well as with PayPal. So far, no details regarding these planned parternships has been revealed.

Overall, this latest development further underlines the fact that the market for mobile payments is reaching the next stage. Large, globally operational firms are not only becoming ever more engaged in this market and positioning themselves within it, but are now also beginning to negotiate with other companies, particularly with smaller young start-up companies, to sound out possible partnerships.