FAQs

About Poynt

Why did you start Poynt?

Poynt was founded on the belief that all merchants should have access to innovative technology without compromising on security or user experience. We set out to fix broken commerce infrastructure by bringing developers, distributors and merchants together on an open platform running on top of a smart, all-in-one device.

Who is your team?

We’re a tight-knit team with world-class payments, engineering, and fintech backgrounds, and we are passionate about providing incredible levels of insight, control, and security to all of our partners: merchants, developers, and distributors. You can see more about us here!

Who are your investors?

Poynt is backed by Matrix Partners, Oak HC/FT Partners, Stanford-StartX Fund, Webb Investment Network, Nyca Partners, Google Ventures and other individual investors.

Where are you located?

Our office is on California Avenue in Palo Alto, CA.

About the Poynt Smart Terminal

What is the Poynt Smart Terminal?

The Poynt Smart Terminal brings the unlimited versatility of a mobile device to a future-proof payment terminal at a price that any merchant can afford. The terminal was built to meet the highest PCI and EMV security requirements as well as connect to any merchant bank. The Poynt Smart Terminal runs PoyntOS which allows developers to bring to merchants the tools and technology to manage every facet of their business without having to purchase additional hardware.

What are the hardware specifications?

We have all of the specifications here.

What are the connectivity options in the Poynt Smart Terminal?

The device connects to Wifi and has optional 3G capability. It also comes with a dock that allows for USB connectivity as well as an Ethernet port.

What are the exact dimensions of the printer paper roll and where can I get it?

A printer paper roll of 2 1/4" x 16' fits our terminal well. Here is an example of the roll we typically use for our terminal: http://www.pospaper.com/portableprinter-01.html. You can buy it online and have it delivered to your store.

How mobile is the device?

The terminal is mobile and can move around your store. If you want to take orders while customers are waiting in line, take payments from curbside pickup or take it to the storeroom to do inventory you can do that. You can even take it on deliveries or to the farmer’s market thanks to its 3G/4G modem.

How do I charge the device?

The battery is charged by plugging it in through the micro USB connection on the side of the device or resting it on the dock.

What kind of warranty do you provide?

Warranty will depend upon the channel through which you buy your device.

What applications are available on the Poynt Smart Terminal?

There are several Poynt applications that come pre-installed on the device: Terminal, Register, Manual Entry, Settlement, and Help. We have also partnered with a number of developers to offer their applications to merchants. The number of applications will grow significantly, and with it the power of the terminal will exponentially grow. Remember when you had a phone with no apps? And what about all the value you get out of your apps today? That difference is exactly what we are aiming for with the 3rd-party applications running on PoyntOS. You will wonder how you lived without it!

Are you a Point-of-Sale (POS) system?

The Poynt Smart Terminal is a payment terminal with basic register functionality built-in. 3rd-party applications like eHopper, eThor, and Lightning Register can provide richer POS functionality. Over time more POS applications will get added to the Poynt platform.

I saw in your video that you have a mobile app for iOS that allows me to monitor my business when I’m away from my terminal. Is there one for Android? What about a website?

Yes and yes. We have built analytics and monitoring tools that work on the terminal, our website, iPhones, and Android phones.

Does Poynt charge a per transaction fee?

No, Poynt does not charge any per transaction fee. Your fees are dependent on what your acquirer bank / processor charges you.

Payment methods

Why do I need to accept all of these different payment methods?

Payment types are constantly changing. EMV cards are now the standard, in the US thanks to the EMV mandate. NFC payments are seeing increased usage thanks to Apple Pay. Some customers want to pay with cash. Our goal is to ensure merchants never have to turn down a customer based on how the customer wants to pay. Both the Poynt Smart Terminal and Poynt 5 package all the payment capabilities into single devices at an affordable price.

Magnetic stripe

Does the Smart Terminal accept good ol’ fashioned credit card swiping?

Of course! And the Smart Terminal can accept PIN for pin-debit as well as Signature.

What about other cards that store information on a magnetic stripe like loyalty cards, drivers’ licenses, gift cards, etc?

Yes, the Smart Terminal can read those cards. However the information being read from the magnetic stripe needs to be interpreted by our software or a 3rd-party application. Another advantage of our open platform PoyntOS is that apps like these can be built by anyone with the skills.

NFC

What is an “NFC” payment?

“Near Field Communication” is a standard enabling secure two-way wireless communication. NFC has been used for payments for years now, but has become popular recently as Apple Pay and Android Pay are based on it.

Does the Smart Terminal accept payments by Apple Pay?

Yes, the Smart Terminal accepts all NFC payments including both Apple Pay and Android Pay.

EMV

What is EMV?

EMV refers to cards with small microchips in them that keep cardholder information more secure than a magnetic stripe. Each transaction has a dynamic authentication which is much, much harder to steal compared to skimming data from a magnetic stripe. EMV cards have been common in much of Europe and came to the US in October of 2015.

What is EMV “chip-and-signature”?

Rather than your card number being read from the magnetic stripe, it instead is read from the microchip. Customers sign receipts just as they have when using magnetic stripe cards.

What is EMV “chip-and-pin”?

EMV chip-and-pin involves card information being securely read from the chip, and the customer entering a PIN as a customer verification method (CVM). It’s kind of like entering a PIN when pulling cash from the ATM. Payments processed with chip-and-PIN technology are more secure and result in less fraud.

QR

What is a QR code?

QR codes are like 2-dimensional UPC barcodes, enabling the storage of information. They can be used for a variety of things including coupons, payments and item identifiers. QR codes can be scanned using the Poynt Smart Terminal just like any other barcodes.

When would someone pay with QR code?

It's another technology for enabling mobile payments that doesn't require a second physical payment card. There are several payment methods in market using QR codes, and when they become popular, similar to any other payment method, consumers might want to pay with one of those.

Why do I need to support QR code payments?

As a merchant, you want to accept forms of payments that your consumers would demand. As an open platform, our goal is to allow merchant to accept the payments without being forced to change their terminals.

Bluetooth

What is a Bluetooth payment?

Bluetooth payments enable a phone to securely and wirelessly communicate with the payment terminal. One big difference between Bluetooth and NFC is that the phone does not need to be very close to the terminal. In fact, customers can pay with their phone while sitting at a table or standing in line.

Credit card imprints

Nope, we don’t do that! Maybe a developer will build an app that will teleport you back to the 80s and you can do it there. If that happens, take us with you!

Jokes apart, credit card imprints are used when a payment cannot be processed due to lack of network connectivity. Poynt Smart Terminal is built with offline capabilities to collect and process offline transactions. Your acquiring bank might require additional qualifications, please check with them for more information.

Connecting to Your Processor

Which payment acquiring processors does the Poynt Smart Terminal support?

Poynt has a close partnership with Elavon, EVO Payments, TSYS, and Vantiv. Other banks are also supported through our partnership with the CreditCall payment gateway.

Connecting to Peripherals

Does the Poynt Smart Terminal work with the cash register that I already own? What about cash drawers, scales, scanners, check processors, printers, etc?

We have built the Smart Terminal to be able to integrate with cash registers, cash drawers, scales, ticket printers, scanners, and other peripherals. Clearly we haven’t tested everything that is out there, but we’ve built PoyntOS on the open Android platform and this enables us to take advantage of interfaces and tools that are standardized by the community. There is a growing list of accessories that have been certified to work with the Poynt Smart Terminal.

Security

What does “state-of-the-art” security mean?

The Poynt Smart Terminal has two processors, one of which is completely dedicated to the security of payment information. No payment card information leaves the secure processor unencrypted. All sensitive payment information is transmitted using end-to-end encryption powered by PCI-approved strong cryptographic algorithms. The device uses security technologies such as TLS, DUKPT, 3DES, PKI and AES, all of which meet the highest PCI and EMV requirements.

PoyntOS SDK & Dev Kit

Is the SDK (Software Development Kit) available for developers?

Our SDK is available for free. Please take a look at the documentation here.

What do you mean by “open” SDK?

Our SDK is available to anyone, for free, to download and use. If you’re a developer and want to build applications to sell to the millions of small merchants in the United States, this is a great opportunity.

What does the Dev Kit contain?

The main item in the Dev Kit is the Poynt Smart Terminal (limited developer edition). “Developer edition” just means that it doesn’t have the same security controls as the merchant terminals, in order to allow for ease of application development and testing.

Must I buy a Dev Kit in order to build an app for the Poynt Smart Terminal?

Purchasing a Dev Kit terminal will help ensure your app’s compatibility with the device, and make sure your users see exactly what you want them to. However, it is not required to start developing. Check out our SDK and start merchant screen testing on any 7” Android tablet with tvdpi (e.g. a Tegra Note 7). See our specs to find a closest device or emulator.

Do I also need to order a merchant terminal in addition to the Dev Kit?

No, the Dev Kit already contains a Poynt Smart Terminal (limited developer edition). You’ll be able to process test card transactions (MSR, NFC, EMV) against a test merchant store, just like you were using a live merchant terminal (but without your cards being charged).

Can anyone build an app on your platform?

Yes. All you have to do is register (for free) and download our SDK.

Can I build a clone of Flappy Bird for PoyntOS?

No. Applications on PoyntOS help merchants run their business more efficiently. Just like other application platforms we have an approval process to which developers will submit their apps. We need to approve all applications that run on PoyntOS to ensure merchant security.

Are there any restrictions on what apps can be built?

Yes. More detailed information is in our SDK documentation. Some key points to keep in mind: 1) Applications have no access to sensitive payment card information, and additionally are prohibited from asking for any payment card information; 2) there are restrictions on what can be displayed on the consumer facing screen; 3) sideloading of apps and services is not allowed; 4) access to custom USB devices from your apps must be approved by Poynt; and 5) all apps must be reviewed, approved, and distributed by Poynt through secure channel.

Can an iOS consumer app interface with the Poynt RESTful cloud APIs?

All requests to the Poynt RESTful cloud APIs need to be signed using application key (which can't be loaded onto iOS app). You could have your iOS app talk to your own server (which has the application key) which talks to Poynt RESTful cloud APIs.

Reseller Program

How do I become a reseller?

We’re finalizing our reseller program now, but in the meantime head here and we’ll be in touch!

Integrating to Poynt

We are interested in your solution for our merchants but would like to integrate it to our processing host. What would be the process for this?

We are thrilled with the level of interest that has been shown for the Poynt Smart Terminal and the desire to integrate it into your existing framework. We are finalizing our integration documentation that would then allow you to code to our specification and tie in to the hooks that we have, thus enabling Poynt on your processing host. Stay tuned!