How Alternative Payment Methods like PayPal & ApplePay Work

Over the last 10 years, due to enormous advances in the industry, technology has become inseparable from the retail experience. One of the many advances in retail technology is alternate payment methods, such as mobile payments.

Mobile Payment Methods

ApplePay, a method developed by Apple, allows customers to pay using their iOS device (iPhone, iPad) at brick and mortar locations. It is also tied to applications that run directly on the Apple device as well. This method of payment will also work with the new Apple Watch which was just released.
Bitcoin is a revolutionary (and unregulated) alternate currency. As I write this, one Bitcoin is worth $379.46 CDN. Retailers may now accept Bitcoins as payment via several different applications. For example, if a customer’s bill came to $59.99 they could pay you with .15089 of a Bitcoin. Although there is money to be saved in transaction fees, the value of Bitcoin has fluctuated significantly over the last two years making payments that would normally be worth $59.99 one day, worth $35.99 when you actually get a chance to deposit it. The applications available to accept Bitcoin can be located by a quick Google search.
PayPal, one of the older (and most stable) forms of alternative payment, can be used online as well as in brick and mortar stores. Adoption in the mobile space has not been great.

How these Methods Work

All of these mobile payment technologies require the customer’s phone or device communicate with your POS system and verify the identity of the person paying. This is done by the use of barcodes (Bitcoin), Near-Field Communication or NFC (ApplePay), or a combination of the above (PayPal).
What does this mean to me?
The current reality in Canada is that many of the above payment methods are not yet available. This is due to regulatory requirements, and consumer protection rights. Many details are still being worked out and CRS is working directly with some of the above companies. Once any information becomes available, we will let you know as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have more questions about alternative payment methods.

Shawn Dillon is the Chief Technical Officer at CRS. He has been involved in hundreds of retail installations and has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, with independent companies as well as government agencies.