Poynt Terminal Review 2021

In this review of the Poynt smart terminal, we evaluate its hardware, software and payment processing capabilities.
NerdWalletAug 4, 2020

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Poynt’s flagship product, the Poynt Smart Terminal, is a credit card terminal with a lot of flexibility. It boasts a touch-screen and user-facing display, receipt printer and the ability to accept magstripe, chip card, NFC and QR code payments. There’s also a set of apps that can give your credit card terminal POS functionality. The cost of this device is $299. Payment processing rates start at 2.3%. While it's not a fully-fledged point-of-sale system like Square or Clover, it makes up for that with its reasonable price, cutting-edge hardware and excellent customer service.

Overview

Poynt launched in 2014 with a payment processing terminal that allowed merchants to accept all major forms of payment. This was largely due to the demand for payment terminals that were EMV-compliant.

Over the years, Poynt has expanded its offerings to become a full-fledged POS system capable of providing brick-and-mortar business owners with everything they need to manage sales.

Payment processing

Poynt offers in-house payment processing called Poynt Processing. With Poynt Processing, you can process payments at a rate of 2.3% per transaction — which is cheap compared to other systems. With Poynt Processing, funds will arrive in your business bank account within 24 hours.

You can also integrate your Poynt system with a variety of third-party payment processors. Poynt says it works with six of the 15 top merchant acquirers in the world. This includes:

  • Vantiv.

  • Elavon.

  • First Data.

  • Chase Paymentech.

  • TSYS.

  • Global Payments.

Which of the aforementioned payment processors you can work with is determined by the third-party reseller you go through to acquire your Poynt Terminal (Poynt does not offer direct sales). If you go with a third-party payment processor, it will determine your payment processing fee.

Hardware

Poynt’s payment processing hardware is the core of its offering. Poynt currently offers two different card terminals. Here are the details on both:

Poynt Smart Terminal

Source: Poynt

The Poynt Smart Terminal is Poynt’s main product. Similar to the Square Terminal, the Poynt Smart Terminal is a crossover between a credit card terminal and a full-fledged point of sale device. However, unlike the Square Terminal, this device runs on the Android operating system.

Here’s everything the Poynt Smart Terminal comes with:

  • Magstripe and EMV card reader slot.

  • Antenna for identifying and processing NFC payments.

  • Merchant-facing camera for scanning QR codes and barcodes.

  • User-facing touch-screen display with an on-screen keypad.

  • Customer-facing touch-screen display.

  • Thermal receipt printer.

  • Built-in microphone and speaker.

  • Micro USB port for connecting a cash drawer or scale.

  • Ethernet port.

  • WiFi-enabled (can also operate offline).

  • Eight-hour battery.

The Poynt Smart Terminal is roughly the same size as an iPad or tablet. Therefore, it can be used as a handheld device or as a countertop terminal. If you’re looking for something more compact, Poynt 5 is another option.

Poynt 5 Terminal

Source: Poynt

The Poynt 5 Terminal is a smartphone-sized credit card terminal perfect for accepting payments on the go. Here’s what comes with this device:

  • Magstripe and EMV card reader slot.

  • Antenna for identifying and processing NFC payments.

  • Merchant-facing camera for scanning QR codes and barcodes.

  • Touch-screen display with an on-screen keypad.

  • Built-in microphone and speaker.

  • USB port.

These are the only two devices Poynt currently sells. However, Poynt also provides a list of hardware accessories that are compatible with its terminals (and provides you with a link to Amazon where you can purchase them). This list includes:

  • USB receipt printers.

    • Esky POS 580-70.

    • EPSON TM-T2011.

    • STAR TSP650.

    • STAR TSP100.

    • STAR TSP143iiU.

    • mPOP.

    • POP10-B1.

  • Wireless printers.

    • STAR TSP100/TSP143Lan thermal printer.

    • EPSON TM-m30 thermal printer.

    • STAR SP700.

    • EPSON TM-U220B.

  • Cash drawers.

    • Star Micronics SMD2-1317.

    • Star 37965560.

    • MS Cash Drawer.

    • M-S Cash Drawer CF-405 Series.

    • SOLUX  SX-CD-1OO-RJ.

    • MPOP POP10-B.

    • APG Vasario.

    • MMF ValuLine.

  • Barcode scanners.

    • Kercan KR-230-EIO.

  • Cash register.

    • Sams 4S ER-5200m.

Software

On its website, Poynt describes itself as “a payment terminal with basic register functionality built in.” This refers to one of several apps that comes pre-installed on your Poynt Terminal: Poynt Register.

Poynt is fairly opaque about what exactly the register app does. The app features a CRM tool and gives you the ability to create branded receipts, collect customer feedback and set up loyalty programs. It also has employee management tools, including user-based permissions and sales and tip tracking.

Another app that works in conjunction with Register is Poynt Catalogue, which is essentially an inventory management app.

Next there’s the Poynt Terminal app, which is the app you’ll use to process payments, including invoices. This app features a virtual terminal. There’s also the Settlements app, which allows you to settle batches, view previous batches and generate reports on your device, and the Help app, which allows you to perform diagnostics tests on your device and also has a repository of guides and tutorials.

Source: Poynt

An app that doesn’t come built-in, but which you may choose to download, is the Poynt HQ app. This is a data analytics app that allows you to generate and view reports and real-time statistics about your business.

Outside of these apps, Poynt also offers integrations with a variety of third-party applications. You can integrate Poynt with:

  • QuickBooks.

  • Vend POS.

  • Homebase.

  • eHopper.

  • Kitchen Display by AppKogent.

  • Lightning Register.

  • Apptizer.

  • eThor.

  • Mangomint.

  • Talech.

A full list of third-party apps available for Poynt can be found here. Poynt also offers a software development kit (SDK) for developers looking to integrate their app with Poynt.

Security

Poynt is fully PCI compliant. It uses end-to-end encryption and meets all EMV requirements. Merchants also receive 24/7 fraud and tamper detection.

Customer service

Along with the Help app, Poynt has an online Help Center with guides for merchants, resellers and developers. Poynt has a support phone line that you can call or text 24/7. Poynt also offers email support. However, for any issues with your Poynt Terminal, Poynt first recommends reaching out to your reseller for help.

Price

The Poynt Smart Terminal costs $299. Poynt does not list a price for the Poynt 5 Terminal. All of the proprietary Poynt apps come free with your terminal. For additional apps integrated with Poynt, Poynt takes a 20% cut of the subscription fee from the software provider. It then gives this money to its merchant acquirer (which is how Poynt is able to offer such low payment processing rates).

You can only buy Poynt through one of its certified third-party resellers. Different resellers have their own rules on which payment processors you can use with your Poynt Terminal.

Pros and cons of Poynt

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Poynt solution.

Pros

Here’s the main benefits of the Poynt Terminal system:

  • Price: The Poynt Smart Terminal is reasonably priced for all the functionality it offers. What’s more, Poynt Processing’s fee of 2.3% per transaction is incredibly low (although not all resellers will offer this rate). Finally, Poynt comes loaded with a lot of free apps that help turn this credit card terminal into a nearly full-functioning POS. So overall, you’re getting a lot of value for your money.

  • Hardware: The Poynt Smart Terminal is a highly sophisticated piece of technology. With it, you get a credit card terminal that can accept all major payment methods, a customer-facing display and a receipt printer all in one. Other POS providers charge a lot more for that level of functionality.

  • Customer service: Having an issue with your credit card terminal that you’re unable to fix means lost revenue. That’s why it’s good that Poynt offers 24/7 customer support, as well as robust documentation on how to use its products.

Cons

As for drawbacks of the Poynt system, here’s what you should look out for:

  • Resellers: While not all resellers are problematic, there is often a stigma associated with independent sales organizations (ISOs). They don’t work directly for the company that produces the product, so they’re not always concerned with what’s in the best interest of the users of that company’s product. Now, Poynt works with a large network of resellers, so it’s certainly possible to find a reputable organization from which you could acquire your Poynt Terminal (and one that allows you to use the payment processor of your choice). However, it’s always wise to proceed with caution and double-check your contract for unfair terms before proceeding.

  • Not a full-fledged POS: Poynt can offer you payment processing and some inventory, employee and customer management tools. But it’s not on the same level with the POS software of a service like Square or Clover. It can work for some small businesses, but as time goes on, you’ll probably want to look into a more scalable POS solution.

Poynt alternatives

If you’re not totally sold on Poynt, you may want to compare it to some alternative payments systems.

Square POS

Square made its mark on the payment processing world back in 2009. Since then, it has built up an impressive set of payment services that are used by small businesses of all stripes.

If you go with Square as your payment processor, you’ll be charged a per-transaction fee of 2.6% plus 10 cents — more than Poynt, but still relatively low for the payments space. Using Square as your payment processor also earns you a free mobile credit card reader and access to the free Square POS app.

If you’re willing to spend extra, Square has two specialized POS apps: one for retail and one for restaurants. There’s also a wide selection of Square POS hardware you can buy for your business, including the Square Terminal, as well as a large countertop POS and a variety of handheld mobile credit card readers. Square can integrate with your e-commerce platform to accept digital payments, which Poynt cannot.

Square POS

Square
Shop Now

on Square's website

Clover POS

An equally popular POS solution is Clover. This POS system makes it possible to buy complete POS hardware and software bundles and pair them together. Its hardware bundles range in price from $69 to $1,349. Its Clover Flex system — which costs $499, is comparable to the Poynt Smart Terminal.

Clover’s POS software is some of the best out there. A non-exhaustive list of the features it comes with includes offline processing; custom sales taxes; email and text receipts; electronic signature capture; inventory, employee and customer management tools; a built-in loyalty program; an email marketing tool and specialized functions for restaurateurs and retailers.

The price for Clover’s software is built into the per-transaction fee you’ll pay. The cheaper plan costs $14 per month plus 2.7% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions. The more expensive plan costs $29 per month plus 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions. Like Square, Clover can also facilitate online payments.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.