Accounting software company Reckon announced a mobile payments solution at its annual partner conference on Friday called Reckon Pay. The solution, due in Q1, was a smartphone-based EFTPOS terminal that could take credit card and EFTPOS transactions on an iPhone or Android and send the data directly to Reckon’s cloud accounting program, Reckon One.
Verifone would supply the card reader and NAB would provide a merchant account in the integrated solution which NAB claimed would be more secure than dongle-based systems from the US.
Reckon Pay was presented on stage by Daniel Rabie, Reckon’s strategic director, and Nathan Churchward, product manager, eCommerce and mPOS, from NAB Business Banking. Read on for a summary of the presentation.
Demand for Mobile Payments
Reckon had researched the market for a mobile payments app and found a strong need among mobile workers, which was a growing trend, Rabie said.
“A huge majority (of mobile workers) are are micro-merchants who cannot accept any type of card. They can only accept cash,” Rabie said.
Reckon had interviewed a stylist for the X Factor TV show who had set up pop-up shops selling fashion. The stylist had no way of knowing how many items had been sold that day or what to order for the following day because all sales had been cash, Rabie said.
Rabie cited UK research that said 72 percent of customers had a negative experience when dealing with a business that couldn’t take card payments. Research showed 19 percent of customers perceived a cash-only business as poor or struggling, and 54 percent said they would would abandon the purchase.
A third of customers surveyed preferred tradesmen who accepted credit cards and 87 percent of customers would spend more money with a business that took card payments.
Cash transactions also tended to generate more administration, Rabie said. Paper receipts had to be reconciled with payments and created more work for bookkeepers and accountants.
Business owners also had less insight into their business performance, Rabie added.
NAB had identified that advances in technology had promoted the concept of integrated payments. “We couldn’t bring out another standalone EFTPOS solution. We needed a partner to be part of the integrated payment experience that we believe is going to be the next way small and large businesses conduct business with their customers,” Churchward said.
NAB recognised that it wasn’t a technology company and shouldn’t build its own hardware, Churchward said. So NAB selected Verifone, which it considered to be the world leader in secure payment hardware.
“So we have a three-way offer with the most successful payment hardware company, the most successful Australian-based business bank and what we believe is going to be the most successful cloud-based accounting software. That comes together to give a really secure and innovative solution,” Churchward said.
Security and Ease of Use
Businesses wanting to sign up for Reckon Pay would find it easier than applications for standalone EFTPOS devices. NAB was creating a streamlined application and onboarding process that would “leverage the business information and statistics … in the software that your clients already run”, Churchward said.
Reckon Pay was to be built with a single interface – “instead of the Reckon app and a payment app and a payment device and the bank in the background”, Churchward said.
“We’re able to integrate the device that we provide with the merchant account directly into the Reckon environment so you only have to deal with Reckon and NAB,” Churchward said. “We want to make it nice and simple and it’s not going to fall over.”
NAB had wanted a solution that was more secure than dongle-based solutions that could only read magnetic strips.
“Many of you have seen innovative mass market payment solutions coming out of the US, but Australia has a much more secure payment architecture,” Churchward said. “We’ve traditionally had a bigger penetration of EFTPOS devices than other markets in the world so we knew that we had to come from a very secure base. And that’s why our device is more like a tiny EFTPOS terminal than a dongle you might see referred to in other markets.”
Reckon Pay would have the same level of security and the same array of payment options as a retail store, Churchward added.
Taking Payments with Reckon Pay
A user accessed Reckon Pay through the same mobile app for Reckon One. Options included cash, card, cheque or invoice so a business owner could record all payments made each day and view a running total of all sales.
A customer could enter their PIN on the Reckon Pay app or sign on the screen of the phone. The user could send the customer a receipt by SMS or email.
Verifone had agreed to supply a cradle for Android and iOS smartphones that could read magnetic stripes and smartchips on EFTPOS, credit cards and debit cards. NAB provided the merchant processing facility for payments.
Reckon Pay “gives mobile workers the ability to take card payments on the road. This is unique to the Australian market,” Rabie said. Reckon was building the app with feedback from its partners.
“A mobile worker needs a mobile cash register. He needs the ability to calculate a running balance as he goes, automatically calculate GST and take discount options. He can also take a photo of the work that has been done and save it,” Rabie said.
Photos of completed work appeared in the sales history and could be shown or forwarded as evidence to clients.
Disclosure: Sholto Macpherson travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Reckon.