Retail Trends

The Evolution Of mPOS

The way we pay for things is changing. With the advent of innovative technology in the  mPOS sector, digital payment systems are becoming increasingly advanced. Today’s mPOS systems enable businesses to take payments using smartphones and tablets, making it easier than ever for companies to process card payments, make money and grow their businesses.

These convenient, versatile applications are ideal for companies that need to take card payments on the go, and their use is fast becoming widespread. You might already have seen mPOS systems in use at populs, brand and retail stores. Soon, you’ll start to see these applications far more regularly, as more and more businesses take note of the opportunities such systems present.

What is mPOS?

The acronym mPOS quite simply means ‘mobile point of sale’. A range of mPOS systems have been designed as an alternative to traditional cash registers, which no longer work well for many businesses. It’s a dongle, smaller than a smartphone, that easily plugs into mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Once plugged in, the dongle enables that device to take card payments as well as payments from other mobile devices. Many mPOS systems also come complete with business management tools that can prove hugely helpful for small businesses. Previously, many merchants now using mPOS systems would only have been able to take cash. Now, mPOS has enabled these same businesses to offer customers a far more sophisticated experience. mPOS systems have proved a hit with retailers and customers alike.

According to research released by Capterra, “48% of retail workers prefer using mPOS,” and “62% of retail workers say mPOS has made their jobs easier.”[1]

Where did it all begin?

We don’t need to look too far back to find the origins of mPOS, in the early 2000s the development of cloud technology helped push POS systems into their next evolution. Saving data from sales and customers on the cloud increased the efficiency of POS systems, allowing for more flexibility and cost savings.

It wasn’t long before big retailers and corporate chains took note of the huge popularity of mobile payment systems. Keen to get ahead of the competition, big brands began to adopt the technology and make use of the increasingly user-friendly checkout experience that such systems provide.

Many of these new mPOS devices were later modified to cater for an international client-base, with the addition of modules capable of reading PIN numbers and working with the chip-cards that are common throughout the world.

What’s next for mPOS?

In light of the rapid growth in popularity of mPOS systems, it is highly likely that mPOS systems will soon become the most common way to pay at our favourite businesses.

Recent research undertaken by Payments Journal has predicted that “there will be 27.7 million mPOS devices in circulation by 2021, an increase from 3.2 million in 2014.”[2]

In light of recent updates to mPOS systems, we can expect to see increasing numbers of mPOS applications capable of accepting NFC payments, as well as integrations with technology giants such as Apple to support payments via Apple Pay and similar digital wallets.

As well as appearing at more and more of our favourite retailers, mPOS systems are soon set to transform the way we make payments. Transformations that go far beyond using our smartphones to make payments.

Some of the brightest brains in the app development space are working on new ways to pair mobile payment technology with biometrics, creating payment systems capable of approving transactions via physiological biometrics. Instead of using traditional PIN numbers, payment providers will switch to fingerprint sensors as the new way to confirm users’ identities. Pilot projects are already underway from the likes of Mastercard.




Digital mPOS systems are convenient, fast and hugely beneficial in terms of the overall customer experience. Not only are they an increasingly flexible and popular way to take payments, they also enable businesses to access crucial data in real time; data that can pave the way for real growth.

In the coming years, we can expect to see a rapid increase in the prevalence of this technology, and a gradual phasing out of traditional cash registers. Look out for mPOS options, and get ready for fingerprint-detecting smart cards and other exciting developments in this space.



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