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ARTS Promotes POS Payment Integration Standard

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Payments can be a particular headache for retailers. They constitute one of the most dynamic components of the point of sale, with new payment types, devices and regulations coming into play all the time.

The rise of mobile payments, introduction of new government benefits programs and the upcoming deadlines for EMV (more commonly known as “chip-and-PIN”) in the United States were all part of the impetus that ARTS felt to create a standard for payments integration at the point of sale.
In the course of forming the work team and writing the charter for the ARTS payments integration project, it was discovered that another group, Brussels-based EPASOrg, was also working on a payments integration standard. Focused on developing and promoting card payment standards, the EPAS protocols are a series of common standards to ensure the interoperability between card acceptance devices and software, acquiring systems, integrated retail solutions and terminal management systems. In keeping with ARTS’ mandate to simplify the retail landscape and reduce the cost of integration for retailers, ARTS redirected the payments work team to collaborate with EPASOrg to support the development of the EPAS Retailer Protocol so that the resulting standard would be truly global and meet the needs of the ARTS members.

There are significant benefits in the model enabled by the EPAS Retailer Protocol. In the EPAS model a payment subsystem is present on the same device as the selling system but separated from it, and the payment system manages all interactions with the payment peripheral devices. Using this model, it is possible to ensure that the selling system never stores, processes or transmits cardholder data, and therefore isolates the selling system from the PCI-DSS audit scope, with the potential for corresponding cost reductions.

There are huge variations in payment processes, technologies, protocols and practices among and between the different regions of the globe. Retailers operating in multiple countries or regions that want to reduce costs through a single POS system will need to integrate regional payments systems; the best way to do this is to leverage a standards-based interface between the selling system and the various payment systems.

EMV and the various mobile wallets involve specific hardware and customer interaction models that will be challenging to support with current selling systems. These changes could be managed much better if payments logic is contained in a small, abstracted system rather than distributed throughout the selling system, as is common in the United States.

Rather than reacting tactically to the latest mobile wallet announcement or viewing EMV as just another imposed regulation, retailers can take this opportunity to strategize how payments innovations can help them achieve business objectives and improve the experience by making more payment options available, while at the same time increasing security and reducing the liability that can come with closely integrated selling and payment systems.

To aid retailers in navigating this vitally important subject area and to help them consider the business benefits this model could deliver, this month ARTS is releasing Payments Integration whitepaper version 1.0. The Payments Integration work team chaired by Tim Hood of SAP benefited from contributions by Cisco Systems, Epicor, Epson, IBM, NCR, Oracle and Vertex, and the whitepaper it produced supports retailers in understanding and implementing the EPAS Retailer Protocol.

More information about EPASOrg can be found at www.epasorg.eu. The Payments Integration whitepaper can be downloaded at www.nrf-arts.org.

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