The Point-of-Sale (POS) journey has been accelerating tenfold through an explosion of merchant and customer acceptance of contactless payments which has the potential to relegate cash payment for the foreseeable future.

Brad Hyett, CEO of phos, and Anne Willem de Vries, CEO of Silverflow, have been two figureheads behind POS’ rapid development, forming new offshoots such as SoftPOS that look to further increase the acceptance rate of contactless and digital payments. 

In this joint interview, Hyett and de Vries spoke on their recent collaboration, why a majority of businesses “just wouldn’t exist” without Tap to Pay acceptance, and what the future holds for both contact and contactless payments moving forward. 

Firstly, what made one another’s company so appealing in order to come together in this recent collaboration? 

Brad Hyett: Partnering with Silverflow positions us to deliver an exceptional software point of sale (SoftPoS) solution to the market. Their cutting-edge technology and commitment perfectly align with our vision, and we’re excited to empower businesses with a faster, more seamless way to accept payments. 

Anne Willem de Vries: Phos has a great proposition where any NFC-enabled device can become the POS, and is able to accept payments from all of the major payment methods on over 35 platforms. 

It’s also a great test of our own capabilities as these payments often need to happen in less than optimal settings – for example, outside where there’s potentially limited connectivity and the physical element of tapping a card, which also has a tendency to go wrong. We want to show the industry that we are capable of delivering much more than digital payments, and this seems like the ideal way to do that.

How has contactless payments evolved since the boom period post-COVID? Where do you envision the next innovation in POS to come from? 

Brad: I would say that we see the real world use of contactless “tap” payments universally. And the adoption of wallet use also completely normalised in everyday life. Now, Apple has also released their P2P Tap to Cash solution. Pre-COVID there were always some questions around the “tap security”, but now they don’t come up at all.

Brad Hyett – CEO of phos

I predict the adoption of the POS to really become a commerce hub. With multiple services available through the endpoint and for it to be easily configurable by our customers – maximising the value of the POS as a marketplace for both the merchant and consumer.

How critical is the implementation time of contactless payments and what is needed in order to establish a faster checkout process? 

Anne Willem: Fast implementation is critical to every business we work with, but in this case it’s important because Phos are bringing an innovative solution to the market, and there will always be a premium for being one of the first companies in a sector.

How important is it to understand what each merchant and market needs in terms of SoftPoS technology and why this isn’t a case of a one-size-fits all approach? 

Brad: We quickly saw the demands of the market were very varied depending on the geography and vertical – which is why we created an architecture flexible enough to fit the go to market story of every client – from a core starting point of security. 

The physical confirmation of a tap, and reduction of the friction around that interaction while increasing the functionality of it at the same time, opens a world of possibilities. And we’re only at the start.

How beneficial is Tap to Pay and other contactless payment methods for a merchant’s overall business? 

Anne Willem: There are so many businesses that just wouldn’t exist or would be seriously diminished if they couldn’t use Tap to Pay payments. Card and mobile wallet payments have far outstripped cash payments across the globe, though in some places, cash is still king. 

Anne Willem de Vries, CEO of Silverflow

Everything from food trucks to delivery services is enabled by Tap to Pay, and there are likely new types of business yet to be dreamed up that can only exist when mobile devices can take payments.

It has now been over a year since the Ingenico acquisition. How fruitful has it been for phos to be under the guidance of an established leader in the space like Ingenico? 

Brad: As a CEO and self-proclaimed payments nerd I don’t really think of it that way. I think more about how fruitful it is for Ingenico to have an injection of a new approach, mindset and pace to contribute and accelerate their new direction of “moving commerce forward”. 

Jokes aside, it feels great to be a contributing part of the business going through transformation to a customer centric and innovative approach at such scale and with the enormous roster of industry giants that they serve.

Silverflow expanded to the US last year. Why do you think the country has been slower than most in Europe in adopting and facilitating faster contactless payments and what do you believe are the solutions to accelerate this?

Anne Willem: The reason why some countries don’t embrace a particular technology tends to be cultural, and often somewhat intractable. 

Traditionally, Germany is married to cash, while Japan closes many of its ATMs on weekends, China and India are heavy users of mobile apps and so on. The US is a huge country split into 50 different states and numerous overseas dependencies, like Puerto Rico and Guam, so upgrading every credit card reader and every credit and debit card in the territory would be a monumental task.

I think that card companies have to take the lead here. They can get millions of cards with new technology into the hands of US consumers. Most physical cards expire after a few years, so it would be possible to transition them over. 

Once more consumers are able to make contactless payments, merchants should follow suit. Companies like phos can be part of this transition by introducing people to contactless payments in places that normally would be cash-only.

Lastly, Brad & Anne Willem, how close are we to a true cashless society? What are the benefits and consequences of this?

Brad: We’re closer than ever but still probably a way away. There’s still likely to be a generational adoption gap to bridge, with older generations less likely to trust new technologies. 

By the time I retire, I wouldn’t be surprised if a completely new system based on blockchain and biometrics emerges that I will be suspicious of – and I’ll still be looking for somewhere I can tap!

Anne Willem: Of course, there has been an overall movement away from cash as the industry has developed convenient, seamless digital payment methods, but a true cashless society is at the very least a distant prospect. At the core of this is about choice to consumers. 

Over the years we’ve been able to pay by cheque, credit, debit cards, now with our phones and other digital devices. Cash is another way of paying that we don’t want to take away as we would exclude whole sub sections of society. The present and future is a balance between the physical and digital that retains the freedom of choice.