Up until now UK and US payment systems have been vastly separated by Britain’s preference for high-security chip & pin processes. However, the UK has become more open-minded and lenient in its approach to sales transactions, which has now opened the door to whole new worlds of opportunity for American iPad payment providers.
Earlier this month (July 2015) a brand new contactless mobile payment service was launched across the UK and has already been rolled out by a number of leading highstreet merchants. Apple Pay is a service that enables one-touch transactions both in store and online, via contactless payment terminals or apps downloaded onto a device. Apple Pay is just another example of the recent move towards modern payment methods within the UK and this innovation is great news for American companies.
While the UK has been rethinking its approach towards the payment services its businesses can offer, American electronic point-of-sales (POS) companies have become more accepting of the good old fashioned chip & pin sales that the UK were once so loyal to. So it seems there is an emergence of some common ground in the breakdown of these longstanding barriers, which is paving the way for American iPad POS systems as they hope to crack the UK market.
Make way for ShopKeep
This new middle ground means that competition is about to get pretty intense for those US companies hoping to introduce their POS services in the UK but New York-based ShopKeep is one step ahead of the rest. ShopKeep has been providing iPad POS services to small independent businesses across the pond since 2008 and has announced that it will be using a recently-secured $60m investment to launch its operations right here in the UK.
ShopKeep currently has 18,000 merchants registered to its service, most of which are retailers and restaurateurs and provides them with a software that can transform the humble iPad into a multi-purpose till. The software means that companies can then use the device to perform necessary functions including the processing of transactions, recording of sales history and management of staff. They will introduce this service onto the UK small business scene to kick start wider plans to take over the world with an ambitious international expansion.
ShopKeep founder, Jason Richelson, said: “From the moment I founded this company in the back of my grocery store in 2008, we’ve worked towards one objective – making independent retailers and restaurants more successful. We now provide a one-stop-shop for merchants looking for cutting-edge technology and 24/7 personal customer service.”
He added: “With this funding we’re looking to fundamentally change how small businesses are run in the UK. We’re essentially becoming an affordable IT department for the small business owner, democratising access to the kind of technology and data that used to be the preserve of big corporates.
“Ultimately this means merchants are able to run more efficient operations. Companies of this size are the backbone of Britain’s economy and we want to deliver them the tools required to thrive in the current climate. The future of independent retail and hospitality in the UK and Ireland is bright and we want to play a big part in it.”
Research carried out by ShopKeep showed that 41% of British SMEs use Windows-based systems, 37% use electronic cash tills and only 4% have access to iPad POS units so the potential for growth is huge. Steve Sarracino, founder of Activant Capital, which led the Series D roundup investment for ShopKeep says that now is a “crucial time” for mobile payment and explained: “We see tremendous opportunity for the company to build on its existing success as the operating system for small business and retail, and rise above the noise to cement its position as the industry leader in this space.”
Where do you stand on the move towards cashless payments? Whether you’re a business owner or a customer, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the box below or tweet us @pandlecloud.