Fiserv dives into cashierless checkout

Image via Fiserv

With the growth of smartphone use and online shopping, merchants are increasingly adding cashierless checkout options. This includes the Amazon Go-style “walk in, walk out” system, along with hybrid approaches that allow employees to check out customers via mobile devices, as they would in an Apple store.

The rush to go cashierless has now pulled in core banking providers. To respond to this need, Fiserv is betting on PIN on Mobile, which allows merchants to accept payments on mobile terminals manned by store employees; customers type a PIN code on the device screen to initiate payments. Fiserv has just begun rolling out the technology, following a pilot in Poland with Samsung.

“The way people want to pay is changing,” said John Gibbons, executive vice president and head of EMEA at Fiserv in a statement. “Contactless chip and PIN payments are common, yet over 23 million micro merchants in Europe alone may lack terminals to accept them. We’re making sure no merchant is left out, and helping them do business in the cashless economy by turning the smartphone into a card-acceptance device.”

Nigel Motyer, senior vice president of global business solutions at Fiserv, explained that the product makes cashier-free checkout cost effective for brands.

“We saw a golden opportunity here to see if we could utilize the security components [for payments] with a phone and to do that safely and securely without a piece of hardware [checkout terminal],” he said.

See also: Fiserv: Open banking key to banks’ survival

Fiserv plans to expand its PIN on Mobile capabilities to nearby markets like Germany and the U.K. in the future. Though PIN codes are heavily used in Europe and Canada, Motyer said Fiserv wants to expand to more countries, even in markets that have not yet adapted to PIN use, like the U.S.

However, earlier reports have outlined adoption challenges with similar solutions. Other reports have argued that these types of offerings exclude disabled consumers. But arguments for mobile, cashier-free solutions tout the security and convenience of the tool.

Rachel Huber, a senior payments analyst at Javelin Strategy, said U.S. retailers may finally be ready to use PIN on Mobile, since Fiserv offers a solution that frees them from bulky checkout terminals.

“Contactless adoption is only going to expand,” Huber said in an email. “In our recent report, we already see that 40% of U.S. consumers have at least once contactless-enabled card in their wallet today. This number is going to expand in the next few years.”

David True, partner at Paygility Advisors, also agreed that as more consumers become familiar with PIN on Mobile, they’ll come to expect it from merchants.

“PIN does make for greater [transaction] security — but trust takes time,” he said.

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