What MSPs Need to Know About SoftPOS

Help your clients meet the demand for contactless payments quickly and easily.


Managed services providers (MSPs) who can provide all the IT solutions and services their clients need to operate efficiently and effectively will gain a competitive edge. However, one area that’s presented a challenge is offering businesses a practical and cost-effective way to accept card-present payments. Software point of sale (SoftPOS) is a promising solution.

The Demand for Payment Transactions Anywhere

Historically, the countertop payment terminal was the standard, allowing businesses to run transactions with credit and debit cards and even accept contactless card and mobile wallet payments with near-field communication (NFC) technology. However, a PIN pad on a counter isn’t the solution for all businesses. Field services organizations that accept payments at the time of service can find it challenging to use separate devices for payment, even if integrated into a tablet enclosure. Payment devices also require tracking, management, and upgrades for compliance and maximum uptime. Multiply that investment and time by dozens or hundreds of devices, and the total cost of ownership (TCO) quickly mounts up.

Also, consider small and micro businesses you offer services to, such as cleaning service providers, contractors, caterers, and concessions companies. They may rely on invoices and check payments rather than giving their customers the convenience of making electronic payments. They also may wait weeks for payments once they’ve sent an invoice rather than receiving payment at the time of service.

The Solution: Add SoftPOS to Your Solutions Portfolio

SoftPOS allows merchants to accept contactless payments directly on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, removing payments friction for their customers – and employees. These payment solutions are software-based; they don’t require payment hardware technology.

If you’ve looked into this technology in the past, you need to take a second look. Early iterations of these solutions had limitations. Most notably, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council hadn’t published security standards for PIN entry on a consumer off-the-shelf (COTS) device, so a separate device was required to capture the PIN. However, PCI addressed that issue and enabled more flexibility to develop, deploy, and maintain these solutions with the publication of the Mobile Payment on Consumer Off-the-Shelf (MPoC) standard in 2022. Today’s softPOS solutions are fully functional, secure, and user-friendly. A partnership with a payment processor or gateway can enable you to offer your clients a solution that allows them to accept contactless payments wherever they do business.

Will SoftPOS Disrupt the Payments Industry?

Remember that there’s no silver bullet with payments, like every other application or use case. Not every consumer has a contactless payment card or a mobile wallet app, so merchants still need to accept other payment methods. Although waving a contactless card or mobile wallet near any screen is attractive, softPOS isn’t an option for self-checkout/unattended payments.

Additionally, merchants can only accept contactless and mobile wallet payments up to a certain dollar amount. So, when transactions exceed those totals, the customer must make a contact card payment or use another method. You also need to work with your payments partner to help your clients update their security strategy to protect cardholder data – and their businesses – from a data breach.

However, softPOS is ideal for certain use cases, like payment at the front door when an employee delivers or completes a service call onsite. It’s also an excellent complement to traditional payment technology, enabling merchants to provide curbside service, pay-at-the-table options, or line busting. In many cases, your clients can use the handhelds they already use in their operations, eliminating the cost of mobile payment devices.

What’s Ahead for SoftPOS?

As contactless payments become the go-to method for more consumers, they’ll expect to use them wherever they pay. According to Grand View Research, the contactless payments market was $34.55 billion in 2021 and will grow at a 19.1 percent CAGR through 2030. That would put the market value at more than $160 billion. Furthermore, Fortune Business Insights predicts the global softPOS market will grow from $293.6 million in 2023 to more than $1,077 million by 2030.

Evaluate the softPOS solutions available through your payment partners and whether they can provide value to your clients. Then, expand your portfolio to add user-friendly, cost-effective payment solutions to your clients.