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Elavon, Ingenico team on new payments tool

Aug 01, 2023

U.S. Bank’s payments software unit is locking arms with the French hardware-maker to take on a raft of competitors targeting small businesses.

Payments software business Elavon said it has teamed with French device-maker Ingenico to create a new Android-based handheld payments device for small businesses.

The new device, which is called a “terminal,” is part of Elavon’s Talech suite of tools. It became available in the U.S. this week, and will be rolled out in Canada later this year, followed by availability in the United Kingdom, Poland and Ireland next year, Elavon Chief Product Officer Pari Sawant said in an interview.

Elavon, a unit of U.S. Bank, already offers a dongle under the Talech brand, which is available for free. It also began selling a point-of-sale desktop application under the same brand last year. The new handheld POS device will address a gap between those two by offering more functionality than the dongle and serving as a handheld supplement to its register hardware, Sawant said.

The services let business owners “accept payments anywhere, anytime with various hardware options,” including on mobile or fixed hardware or online, the company said in a Wednesday press release. The device also has the capacity to add surcharges for credit card payments.

It’s a market rife with competitors, including mega-processor Fiserv with its Clover offering; fintech Toast with its restaurant-tailored software; and Block-owned Square, buoyed by its trademark dongle’s early inroads. The companies offer a variety of pricing schemes, with fierce competition evidenced by Toast’s pullback last month on a new fee.

Elavon is also counting on its pricing for the new tool to win over new customers. Sawant contends pricing for the new product will undercut the competition. A client can rent the new device at a cost of $15 per month, or purchase it for $400. Both charges are lower than most competitors’ prices, he contended.

By comparison, a Square card reader markets for $59 while its terminal is available for $299. Earlier this year, Square raised prices for some of its services, including monthly prices for its online seller plans.

While Elavon’s dongle is offered free of charge, its desktop rents for $99 per month. The company will try to attract clients to the new device by enticing some dongle users to pay for more capabilities, and by luring others to swap older devices for a newer model, Sawant said. “There is a big opportunity around revitalization of these devices,” he said.

He declined to comment on the client count for those two existing offerings. Elavon partners with Milpitas, California-based Elo Touch Solutions on the hardware for the desktop POS. The dongle hardware is from Ingenico.

Elavon’s sweet spot, across its Talech strategy, is clients with about $2.5 million in annual revenue. It is targeting businesses in three categories that competitors Clover and Square also focus on: retail outlets; restaurant proprietors; and those selling services, such as plumbers and landscapers.

There is room to expand the market because new SMBs are opening their shops online and in-person every day, Sawant argued. But Elavon is also seeking to take share from other players too, he said.

Overall, the company aims to differentiate its Talech ordering and invoicing, booking services by integrating them with U.S. Bank’s other banking, payments and money movement services, Sawant said. That’s also a way for the bank to use the payments devices to sell more of its banking services to small businesses.

Correction: The story has been updated to correct the name of the company that makes Elavon’s dongle. It’s Ingenico.