If you have a business and want to give your customers the option to pay by card, but you may think that it is too complicated, that it involves too much cost or that it is more suitable for big business, forget all these myths, because SoftPOS is now available. ING SoftPOS is suitable for any type of business. It is an application available for Android phones, which allows you to accept contactless payments with your card, phone or any other type of card holder with NFC reader.
To find out more, I spoke with Grzegorz Nowakowski, co-founder and vice president of SoftPos.eu, Ciprian Pîrv, Country Leader Payten in Romania (ASEE Group’s payments division, which supports banks and merchants to provide a consistent and consistent customer experience in while using ATM or POS acquisition networks) and with Bogdan Ioniță, Sr. Product Manager within the card department of ING Bank Romania.
Explain to us, first of all, what ING SoftPOS, the new Android application, is and how to use it.
Grzegorz Nowakowski, SoftPOS.eu: Our application allows you to transform an Android device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) into a mobile payment terminal that accepts contactless card transactions and their virtual equivalents. The only requirements are that the device has Android 8.0 or higher, a working NFC module and internet access. This means that most of the Android devices currently available can work with the ING SoftPOS solution.
The application offers all the functionalities of a classic POS. Our solution is easy to use and has many advantages over traditional payment terminals. These include easy integration, lower costs, online software upgrades, and no need to produce, ship, or replace hardware. All this makes SoftPOS a solution for the future when it comes to accepting payments.
What prompted you to launch such a service? How has the demand for it evolved?
Grzegorz Nowakowski, SoftPOS.eu: We started with the vision that the option to collect contactless payments directly on the user’s mobile device will become as important as the introduction of mobile payments (through Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.).
In July 2020, we implemented the first tests of the SoftPOS application, and since then we have expanded significantly. After almost two years, our application is used in over 20 countries in Europe. The SoftPOS solution is used both by small businesses (cafes, shops, taxi drivers) and by postal companies and large corporations.
We are currently testing the SoftPOS application in completely new markets, including the Latin American region. We are constantly working to expand our services and we believe that SoftPOS solutions have started a revolution in the payments market, of which we are happy to be a part.
What do you think differentiates SoftPOS from what is currently on the market? And how secure is this application in terms of payment security?
Grzegorz Nowakowski, SoftPOS.eu: First of all, we are different from the fact that we launched the SoftPOS solution earlier than our competitors on the European market. This means that we now have tens of thousands of customers across Europe and we have benefited (and continue to benefit) from their feedback to improve our services.
At the same time, we are among the very few companies that have met the highest security standards for this type of service. Among them, we have obtained the certificates issued by the PCI Institute (PCI DSS and PCI CPoC) and we have met the requirements of Mastercard and VISA, which allow us to process transactions, including those that require PIN. So, our application is as secure as a traditional POS.
Bogdan Ioniță, ING: I would like to add that for the ING SoftPOS application, in order to ensure the highest level of security, I have also incorporated the PAD PIN module (for capturing and encrypting payers’ PIN) provided by SoftPOS. Thus, we ensure the security of our clients’ payments, but they do not perceive the existence of an additional module.
What types of cards does SoftPOS support for payments?
Ciprian Pîrv, Payten: The SoftPOS solution can be used with any type of Visa and Mastercard card, these being the most used on the local market.
What is the number of ING SoftPOS users in the first months after launch? What are the areas of activity where ING SoftPOS is used?
Bogdan Ioniță, ING: Currently, three months after the launch of the ING SoftPOS solution, we have over 1,000 registered merchants and 2,400 mobile app users. We have exceeded 20,000 transactions made in the ING SoftPOS application.
One merchant can designate more people to become mobile users, which is why we have more registered users. To be clear, I will take the example of a company that offers home delivery services. Delivery couriers will receive access from that merchant / company administrator and will be able to collect payments with ING SoftPOS. The example is not taken for granted, because the application is widely used in the field of deliveries, as it offers the benefit of mobility.
At the top of the business areas where the ING SoftPOS solution is used at the moment are: grocery stores, restaurants and cafes, medical offices, health and care stores, salons and barbershops, as well as car parts and accessories stores. .
How open are Romanians to alternative payment types?
Ciprian Pîrv, Payten: Romania is among the countries with the highest level of adoption of new trends and new technologies, especially by the younger generation. Given the multiple benefits that such a solution has for accepting banks, merchants and suppliers, we expect the recently launched pilot to expand rapidly into a highly successful production. The signals already exist, very well received adoption, rapid evolution and already successful.
How can Romanians apply for ING SoftPOS?
Bogdan Ioniță, ING: To become an ING SoftPOS user, ING legal entities must visit an ING Office and sign the service contract. From the signing of this contract, if there are no objective reasons for postponement, in approximately two to three days, the customer receives access to the ING SoftPOS solution.
The service applicant obtains access to the ING SoftPOS portal – the web interface in which he has 24/7 and real-time access to the payment history, sales evolution and extraction of reports in the portal, can manage his terminals and users. To use the mobile app, you need to download the app from Google Play. Using the application is simple and intuitive, but we also have video tutorials to make it easy for all users to understand quickly.
What is the cost of ING SoftPOS?
Bogdan Ioniță, ING: ING SoftPOS is the most affordable card payment collection solution offered by ING. In the case of ING SoftPOS, there are no rental or administration fees. There is only one commission per transaction. For small and medium-sized companies, the commission is 0.6% or 0.8% per transaction, depending on the current account package chosen. For large companies, the price is customized based on accepted volumes and card types. More details about costs and packages can be found here.
Do you think that you will ever offer such a service to individuals, which will facilitate the rapid transfer of funds between friends?
Ciprian Pîrv, Payten: The SoftPOS solution is aimed at companies today and is an affordable alternative compared to the classic POS terminal, especially for small and medium-sized companies. The transfer of funds between friends already exists today in many mobile banking applications. However, we are closely following the market and exploring any value-added functionality of interest.
Bogdan Ioniță, ING: If we mention the fast transfer of funds between friends, I add that one of the most appreciated features in Home’Bank is the payment to a friend by phone number. On average, ING Bank customers make over seven million transactions per month in Home’Bank, of which about 12% go to ING accounts through the “pay to a friend” functionality.
In September 2021, we also launched interbank payments, through AliasPay, for individuals, through which our customers can transfer money to customers of other banks who, in turn, use the AliasPay service, using only the phone numbers of recipients. Approximately 75,000 ING customers already use Alias Pay. Currently, two other banks in Romania offer the Alias Pay service. Next, we look at what transfer solutions between friends are simpler and more relevant to ING customers.