Technologies That Changed the Way Accepting Payments Works
Credit cards, ATMs, POS terminals, and now cryptocurrency. The finance sector is constantly developing, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of the changes. Even the invention of money still raises a lot of questions, as historians can’t name the exact date and place where it happened. However, let’s not go back this far. There have been many great inventions that changed the way payments are made or accepted.
By the time ATMs were invented, the world was long in need of a solution that would be able to distribute cash when banks were closed. The first ATM appeared at Barclays Bank in London in 1967. It accepted cheques that had carbon-14 marks readable by the machine. Later they added a four-digit code (now known as a PIN) for more security.
The first ATM in America was introduced by Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre on the 2nd of September 1969. It could only give out money, but only two years later, such machines were able to perform many operations, including the remaining balance.
In the beginning, ATMs were only located in banks. However, as they got widely popular by the 1980s, ATMs started to appear everywhere: from gas stations to cruise ships.
In 1977, a student of the University of Illinois named Murray Lappe created the PLATO Hotline interactive kiosk. With its help, the students could view information about the campus, maps, as well as bus schedules. During the first month of its work, more than 50 thousand people used PLATO Hotline.
The first interactive kiosk that had an internet connection was introduced in 1991 at Comdex. It could even locate missing people. After that, this technology started to gain even more popularity, and soon enough, interactive kiosks were in every public place.
Nowadays, you can find them everywhere and pay for utilities or fines, top up the balance of your credit card, book a doctor’s appointment, and even receive documents.
In 1879, the saloon owner James Ritty created the first cash register in the world. By the middle of the 20th century, they were already digital. The first POS system was created in 1973 to be used in restaurants. This made the checkout process a lot easier and more accurate. Back then, transactions took at least 30 seconds to process.
In 1986, the speed of POS terminals increased when Gene Mosher made the first touchscreen interface for it. Microsoft used that invention to introduce the first commercial POS client for restaurants.
Today, you would be surprised if a store or restaurant didn’t have a POS terminal. They make payments a lot easier and faster. Earlier, people needed to swipe their credit cards and enter their PINs. Now you can touch a POS terminal with your card, and the payment will be accepted.
Stationary POS terminals are available almost in every store, but sometimes one needs to pay ‘on the go’. That's why many businesses that do deliveries use mobile POS terminals, which can be taken anywhere. Because of their mobility, mPOS terminals can even replace other payment technologies someday. Plus, they are usually cheaper and smaller than regular terminals.
Modern smartphones use NFC technology to complete payments. The first time inventors started to work on it was way back in 1983. After many years of trying, the technology was finally approved as an ISO/IEC and ECMA standard in 2003. In 2012, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8 with native NFC functionality. After that, Apple’s iPhone 6 with NFC support was released in 2014. NFC payments became so popular because they are very convenient and easy to use. You can add multiple bank cards and use them whenever you want.
Although the first concept of digital currency emerged in 1983, 2008 is considered to be the year of cryptocurrency’s birth. This was the year when Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper. The first block in the Bitcoin network was mined in 2009. The first cryptocurrency triggered thousands of altcoins and blockchains to emerge during the following years. Nowadays, there are more than 10,000 cryptocurrencies in the world.
During the last few years, this technology has become very popular, and that’s why entrepreneurs have started incorporating it into their businesses. As of 2022, customers can either use a crypto POS terminal or pay on a website in digital currency. Crypto POS terminals are just as quick and easy to use as regular POS terminals. Here’s why:
A customer only needs a crypto wallet to transfer the sum from. The whole process usually takes no more than a couple of minutes.
There is no need to convert crypto to fiat.
Fees are lower.
There is usually more than one currency option.
You can get crypto from anywhere in the world, while obtaining a bank card can be very difficult because of bureaucracy.
The same goes for paying on a website of a shop or any other business: the customer simply enters the needed information and proceeds to pay (usually via a wallet extension).
Currently, over 18,000 companies all over the world accept cryptocurrencies as payment methods. Among them are many big companies, including Microsoft, McDonald's, KFC, Twitch, Norwegian Air, Namecheap, and Pizza Hut. And the list is constantly growing.
Sometimes, whole countries start to use cryptocurrency more often. For example, Ukraine is one of the 20 countries that use cryptocurrencies the most. Many Ukrainian businesses started accepting digital currencies in 2022. Plus, lots of people from other countries are actively donating crypto to support Ukraine during the war.
So it is very possible that crypto payments will be the next big thing in a couple of years.
As you can see, the technologies we are used to, were once someone’s bold ideas. It’s almost impossible to imagine our life without ATMs, POS terminals, and bank cards. Maybe crypto acquiring will be the next step towards an even better customer experience.