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After eight years building a huge following as an online payments processing company to be reckoned with, Stripe is set to enter the real world, offering merchants a new option when it comes to in-person payments.
Known as Stripe Terminal, it will offer retailers a “programmable point of sale”, allowing tech savvy businesses to create an ideal checkout experience that best suits their business.
Here’s an insight into Stripe Terminal, how it works and who it’s for.
First established in 2010, Stripe has always been a payment processing company with a developer-first focus.
Unlike other online payment platforms, Stripe isn’t a buy-off-the-shelf payment solution but rather software and programming that e-commerce websites and apps can utilise to customise the checkout experience and make payment processing simple.
This developer-first philosophy has seen Stripe quickly grow to become one of the biggest payment processing solution providers in the field. It now ranks second only to PayPal, according to Datanyze, with almost a 20 per cent market share.
Meanwhile, Forbes notes Stripe is used by government and the private sector alike “because it lets people start accepting payments online instantly without having to deal with the legacy payment infrastructure built for pre-Internet businesses”.
In addition to payment processing, Stripe also offers a suite of other tools to help companies do business online and globally.
In September this year, Stripe announced it was moving beyond the online realm and into in-person payments with the release of a programmable terminal.
The new initiative comprises three essential elements:
The upshot is businesses can now create a customised in-person payment system using pre-certified card readers offered by Stripe.
Retailers can then use the overarching software to manage their in-person checkouts remotely via their online account. That means they can scale up quickly and know exactly what’s going on with each card reader.
At present, Stripe is looking to offer two variations of the card readers:
Stripe notes the advantage of both is that they are pre-certified, allowing users to enjoy end-to-end encryption yet avoid the costly certification process.
They note the SDKs allow developers to “customise every user-facing aspect of the point of sale using a modern developer platform”.
Or as they further explain: “A Stripe Terminal integration starts with your application running at a physical location. Using our SDK, your application communicates with a reader to collect physical payment methods from your customers. Your backend acts as a trusted intermediary for requests from our SDK to Stripe’s APIs.”
In other words, you can create a custom application and use the Stripe SDK to enable the Stripe terminal to take payments for it.
Stripe goes on to illustrate how that works, noting:
“You might choose the combination of an iOS SDK and mobile reader if: