Middleware software solutions and the changing US payment landscape

Choosing a decentralized architecture
Any retailer using an integrated POS system has likely faced, at some point in time, the decision of selecting a middleware software solution provider. This is especially true in countries that have implemented EMV. The complexities of EMV force retailers to reconsider in-house attempts to develop payment software. Partnering with a seasoned expert in such countries can save time and resources while providing a positive customer experience.

What to look for in a middleware provider

As is the case with the selection of any partner, references are important. ACCEO has become one of the leading payment solution experts in North America, with many global brands to its name. A leader in both EMV and point-to-point encryption implementations, ACCEO is at the forefront of the latest innovations, including mobile solutions and non-conventional payment methods, which are key components of tomorrow’s store. Working closely with major North American acquirers and a variety of POS providers, ACCEO uniquely qualifies for consideration for any merchant looking for a middleware solution.

A new and important consideration: centralized or decentralized?

A long history of industry-specific experience, technical expertise in payments and security, a leader in innovation and industry trends, and competitive pricing all factor into a merchant’s decision to select a middleware provider. However, another important element must be considered when choosing a payment solution: centralized vs. decentralized architecture.

Why is the pendulum swaying?

To fully understand why the pendulum is swaying, we must first examine the current US landscape. Payment solution providers in the US have typically presented one option to merchants—a centralized solution. Faced with this as the sole option, many US merchants today operate in a centralized environment. Is this the best and most appropriate architecture? Certainly an analysis is warranted.

Consider the following: In a centralized environment, you may be exposed to a single point of failure that can bring your entire operation to a halt. A host server interruption, even for a short time, may cause significant economic losses, including loss of customers, due to the fact that it will affect all of your stores. The decentralized architecture has a reliability and scalability advantage because there is no single point of failure.

Furthermore, in a centralized environment, expect the technical management cost for the server architecture to be significant. This will include database and server redundancy requirements. The cost of qualified technical personnel to support this is substantial.

Finally, merchants can now rely on their acquirer to store and capture payment authorization data. Host bank capture has become ubiquitous in the industry. Retailers no longer need to store credit card data for nightly batch settlement, financial reporting, and reconciliation, and may instead transfer that responsibility to their acquirer. Using your acquirer for decryption, tokenization, and historical data archival greatly reduces your PCI scope.

Centralized vs. decentralized architecture

The following illustrations provide a brief overview of the solution options.

Centralized Architecture

Decentralized Architecture

In short

Although many may claim that a centralized architecture is 99.99% reliable, you do not want to get a taste of what 0.01% unreliable means to your operations in this environment.

ACCEO Tender Retail’s decentralized solution has been deployed for the last two decades. This simple architecture provides the maximum in redundancy and resiliency. This allows each store to independently connect to the merchant’s chosen acquirer. For this reason, global retailer brands in the US and Canada are adopting this significant value proposition being put forth by ACCEO. CTOs are reconsidering their legacy centralized architecture and migrating to a decentralized architecture for payment routing.

Article written by Michael Loftus, Senior Manager, Product and Partner Relationships, ACCEO Solutions


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