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With a reduction in cash and increasing digitalisation of in-store payments, the global proximity payment market size is expected to reach $26.4 billion by 2027. But the growth also brings challenges for acquirers. Most in-store merchants have multi-acquirer relationships to safeguard transaction revenue from performance slowdown or any downtime at checkout. For acquirers, a robust and well-performing POS network is foundational to capture market share and has a direct impact on transaction revenue and merchant relationships.

The more expansive the estate, the more challenging it is to support. Acquirers need to be able to monitor and control the management of POS terminals, spot problems and mediate a range of operational and business issues, ideally before it disrupts the transaction experience and impairs business performance. Critically, acquirers also need to manage application updates, comply with the latest regulation, and interchange mandates and continue to roll out new services rapidly and in parallel keep overall cost of service low. This is operationally intensive and complex, given the diversity of POS devices and the geographically distributed and extensive nature of the terminal install base.

The Shift to Intelligent Monitoring

Acquirers managing large terminal estates cannot fly blind. To achieve insight into the performance of their POS networks, acquirers need performance monitoring systems for collecting and analysing data from terminal applications. This allows operations teams detect and be alerted to and troubleshoot issues related to device and application availability or performance to improve the merchant and the end-user experience proactively and efficiently.

Many acquirers have implemented either closed-loop estate monitoring systems or a narrow set of monitoring functionality distributed across the POS Switch and processing systems to manage POS terminals. Multiple point solutions prevent operators from obtaining holistic insights into POS performance for preventative maintenance.

Real-time visibility into dynamic POS environments requires an automated and centralised system that can manage key performance indicators for the complete infrastructure spanning device, terminal application, and POS peripherals. POS estate performance monitoring software tools need to:

Support Open Standards to Manage Diverse Terminal Estate

Most acquirers manage mixed estates and have deployed a range of form factors -- fixed POS, mobile POS, Soft POS -- sourced from multiple original equipment manufacturers. At the same time, terminals from various generations coexist within the same estate and terminal apps running on these devices are developed by third-party suppliers (either from the manufacturer or specialized companies) and are not standardised.

Open standard protocols such as Nexo provide an interface between a Terminal Management System (TMS) and the payment acceptance device. The protocol supports the functions for configuring, managing, and maintaining the application parameters, the software, and the security keys of a payment system. The open, universal, TMS standard prevents vendor-lock-in and helps acquirers achieve a clear independence between terminals on the field and their remote management and control. Additionally, many estate managers have existing point solutions to monitor their estate. The centralised estate management system needs to be compatible with existing devices to derive synergies from new and existing solutions.

Provide Comprehensive Management Control

In addition to terminal monitoring, estate management spans a comprehensive range of functionality that allows technical teams to undertake a range of tasks -- update a newer EMV, schedule seasonal advertising, or track terminals for a P2PE validated solution. Specifically, this include:

  • Software application uploads and updates: Remotely upgrade terminal application. As an example, application OS updates or a change in the terminal configuration
  • Compliance with regulatory mandates - Upgrade an entire estate at once to comply with regulatory mandates, for example PCI updates
  • Remote key injection: Update terminal keys to protect the data exchange by the terminal with its external environment
  • Risk management: Assess risk at per terminal and merchant level, leveraging real-time and historical quality of service data
  • Campaign management: Send offers to merchants to drive transaction volume – e.g., lower merchant discount rates for festive seasons

Support Intelligent Data Capabilities

The earlier differentiator among estate management solutions, namely that proprietary agents could monitor applications, is shifting to analysing data collected by tools. Furthermore, the analytic capabilities of modern estate management tools should expand to aggregating and analysing data from transacting systems. This enables business and operations and monitoring teams to discover unexpected patterns in high-volume, multidimensional datasets and fine-tune performance.

Offer Flexible Commercial Models

Acquirers can leverage As-a-Service, subscription-based model to avoid being burdened with unpredictable and rising operational expenditure and the recruitment and retention of specialist personnel. Additional benefits of an As-a-Service model include the ability to rapidly comply with new developments such as terminal support for contactless payments, and evolving demands of regulators and card systems. This allows acquirers to focus resources on their core business instead of getting caught up with maintaining their payment tech.

FSS Terminal Estate Management

FSS estate management solution is a centralised solution designed to help merchants and acquirers’ control and monitor their terminal fleet remotely. FSS offers a comprehensive set of functionalities including performance monitoring, remote diagnostics and updates, and terminal lifecycle management. These high-performing functionalities facilitate proactive and preventive estate management - enabling acquirers to gain significant revenue and operating efficiencies.

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