Point of Sale Systems and The Growing Market in Canada

Walking into one of the huge shopping outlets of today, like Wal-Mart, Auchan, or even COOP, you can see just how the retail industry has changed over the years in Canada. The days of making payments in cash only and waiting for your turn at the cash register are dying. And small businesses are growing rapidly thanks to current technology.

Customers are no longer carrying cash very often on their regular shopping trips, and they can be even more impatient if they have to wait in line to pay. Today, shopping in a supermarket can be a lot more entertaining compared to the past. The way today’s transactions are completed is a wonder. With plastic credit and debit cards and options like Touch-n-Go, quick, simple electronic payments are taking over.

Using technologies like NFC and RFID, even a credit card is not a necessity nowadays. Cell phones can provide easy swipe activated payment methods. According to Statista, mobile payment usage among global smartphone users was at 29 percent as of January 2013.

The Market Today

Giants in the industry are going head-to-head to come up with some of new and innovative ideas to attract more customers. Services such as Shopify are allowing business owners the ability to track all aspects of store performance right from an iPad. Freedom of this kind doesn’t just make the work easier, it also helps get the right product in the right place at the right time.

The total number of credit card transactions in the Canada alone totaled 26.2 billion in 2012, as stated by a 2013 Study. It is no wonder that payment processing partners like VISA and MasterCard are developing advanced payment systems and are working on ways to eliminate the very need to carry a wallet. The power of NFC (Near Field Communication) allows customers to access bank details right from their phone while getting the payment done with, and all the while taking care that the lines are secured for payment.

There is constant development and investment going into every single element of POS terminals. Information input and cloud integration are constantly being updated and improved. RFID systems today are able to calculate the worth of a cart before the customer even reaches the checkout counter. That is the kind of innovation you are getting to see.

The Elements of POS

In considering a Point of Sale system, you should know some of the various hardware elements. There are:

  • Touch screens or keyboards for input
  • Card Readers
  • Barcode Scanners
  • Receipt Printers
  • Cash drawers
  • RFID/NFC readers

This list is not exhaustive. A number of other add-ons exist in the market to help both you and your customer. An efficient POS system will not only speed up the entire billing process and make the work of the salesperson easier, it can also help you keep an eye on your inventory and sales history with live updates.

The changing economic system

Markets in Canada today have become much more competitive than they ever were. Prices are being set in the most competitive environments and the customer has a host of choices when it comes to picking their prefered shopping location. It is imperative that you do all you can to offer customers a unique and engaging shopping experience.

Some of the best names in the market are not only working on personalized service to repeat customers, but also on developing innovations in the realm of rewards and customer retention. From faster deliveries to free upgrades, shopping has never been this unique.

POS systems have provided innovations that have revolutionized the way payments are processed, the way customers purchase their items, and the way businesses are managed. With the need for cash and card diminished, there is a whole new world of possibilities available. With features like loyalty programs allowing customers to gather points for purchases and pay up using those accumulated points, there are a lot of options for businesses to reward and attract customers.

Massive investments are being made in the field of POS terminals in hopes of further improving the various capabilities of POS systems. The use of technologies like QR codes, NFC, and RFID has sped up the checkout process tremendously. Today, customers find themselves waiting in the queue for much less time than ever before . With the current rate of technological development, it might be that the time of fully automate POS systems is fast approaching. Perhaps some day in the near future, grocery stores and retail outlets will no longer have need of cashiers and customers can come and go as they please with automated digital wallets interfacing with the POS system for payment.

Like What You See? Share the Story!

How to Save Money on Your Mortgage

The house with the moss green paint.Do you currently have a mortgage payment that you make each month? Have you ever figured out how much you will actually pay for your house after all the principle and interest payments over the full term of the loan? If you bought your house for $200,000, even with a 4% interest rate you will pay almost $400,000 over the 30-year term of the mortgage! What if I told you that you could reduce that by $100,000? Sounds too good to be true right? It’s not. In fact, it is fairly simple.

Saving Money on Those Pesky Interest Payments

Even with a low interest rate, you still end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the course of your home mortgage. But, whoever decided that a 30 year mortgage is the best way to go? What if you shrink down the time-frame of the mortgage payback? True, you might pay a few hundred extra dollars each month, but the savings on interest is phenomenal!

Think about it. When you decide to start investing in your company 401k, what is the most important thing they always tell you? To start early. Let the interest work to your benefit. When borrowing money, you need to think the opposite. To save on the interest payments, you will want to pay off your home as soon as possible. Instead of a 30 year mortgage, consider a 15 year mortgage. Or, if you are able, take a look at the 5 year mortgage rates in Canada. Not only will you be debt-free sooner (which will improve your cash flow each month), but you will also save a ton of money on interest!

Live Well Below Your Means

One of the more radical options that very few people think about is living well below their means. Instead of always buying a bigger and better house, why not downsize or live a little farther out of town? By owning a smaller house that costs less, you will obviously save money on your mortgage payments, but there are many other savings that go along with this as well:

  • Save on cleaning costs
  • Save on heating/cooling costs
  • Save on maintenance costs
  • Save on insurance costs
  • Save on priceless time!

By owning a smaller house, you provide yourself with much fewer expenses and let me tell you, it’s amazing. My friend bought a home a few years ago for just $75,000 and he will likely pay it off by the end of this year. The property is easily managed and is very cheap to heat and cool (with the smaller size). In a couple of years he will need to get the roof replaced, but since the roof is a fairly low square footage amount, a complete redo will only cost $5,000 instead of the usual $15,000+ for an average home. And, with a cheaper house, there is a lower cost to insure it. Finally, my most favorite advantage is time. With such an easily managed property, he can easily come and go without even thinking about anything. His time is priceless and enjoys the fact that he does not need to waste time cleaning and fixing a mansion.

So if you haven’t bought a house yet, step one is to buy one that is well within your means, then pay it off quickly and enjoy your life! You’ll likely learn to love your house and most importantly, you’ll love your life.

Like What You See? Share the Story!

Preventing credit card fraud

Credit cards are surely one of the most efficient financial products out there. They make life more convenient if you have to cover an emergency regardless of whether you’re at home or abroad.

They are lightweight, don’t take up any bulk and using them often earns you points which can be redeemed for all kinds of useful products and services. On top of this, they are widely-accepted both in stores and online.

The widespread use of credit cards has a potentially dark side though; identity fraud.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada says that thousands of Canadians are victims of credit card fraud each year so following these tips to prevent credit card fraud is essential.

 The basics

It may be tempting to allow people who are close to you to use your credit card but this is not advisable. You can’t necessarily monitor where they are spending and this could make you more vulnerable to attack.

Another obvious tip is to destroy a credit card as soon as it expires so that your details cannot be obtained. Some paper shredders are strong enough to cut through the plastic but otherwise a pair of decent scissors should do the job.

Take care online

Shopping online has a host of advantages, the most obvious of which is convenience. It’s no wonder then that shopping online has risen considerably over the past few years but what risks does this open you up to?

To make your online shopping experience a secure as possible you should only use what are called ‘secure’ web pages.  You know this is the case if the address starts with ‘https’ (the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’).

Also, if there is a locked padlock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the browser you are shopping on a secure web page. Don’t be fooled by padlock symbols in other areas of the webpage as these could be an attempt to make a fraudulent site appear legitimate.

 Get protected

It’s wise to choose a credit card provider which takes your security seriously and offers necessary support and advice in the event of identity theft.

Credit cards are protected through a sophisticated screening network which can spot transactions which look unusual and potentially fraudulent.

Under a ‘Fraud Protection Guarantee’, an Amex customer will not be held responsible for any charges which are fraudulent if they have been responsible about protecting their card details.

This kind of scheme is worth its weight in gold for your peace of mind.

Check statements

Set aside a regular time to check credit card transaction receipts against your statement.

Doing this online every week is recommended as it will give you the chance to keep on top of any irregularities.

 

 

Like What You See? Share the Story!