Omni-channel or Multi-channel Payments in a Cross-Border POS Environment?



Following the introduction of many new and alternative payment channels one can definitely say that consumers find themselves in an increasingly complex payment world.

From the traditional physical brick and mortar store experience or catalogue sales where an order was placed by mail or via telephone, to online shopping, which now can start on our laptops/computers, move to our smart phones and/or tablets and finally conclude in store with the collection of the good (click and collect).

A variety of choices are also available in respect to the payment itself, depending on the channel, the consumer can either pay physically (card-present) or digitally (card-notpresent). Today Chip and PIN cards, smart phones and many other innovative payment devices allow us to pay through different methods of contact, contactless and online payment channels. With the introduction of new and smart payment media, consumers now have the ability to receive information regarding special and spot promotions. These are pushed by merchants depending on the customer’s location or based on a specific shopping pattern behaviour. This allows for tailormade offers, specifically targeting particular individuals.

High Complexity and Costs in A Fragmented Payment Market

The European card payment market is still highly fragmented in terms of standards and business models. National schemes in most countries operate as barriers to external operators.

European merchants are required to adopt POS solutions that comply with the specific regulations of each country in which they operate. That means, having to certify local acceptance with in-country acquirers for transaction routing. Achieving and maintaining compliance is a complex, time consuming process, requiring multiple POS terminal management solutions, different conditions with local acquirers, heavy accounting management and non-homogeneous consumer shopping experience in every country, which usually results in high costs.

As modern consumers living in a global market, we expect to be able to get easy access to refunds in any country regardless of where the product was originally purchased. We also expect our loyalty scheme reward points to be accepted globally. Unfortunately, these consumer needs are not always available as a standardized process due to specific country payment regulations and outdated back office legacy systems.

Unfortunately, in most cases, the variety of smart shopping payment options offered by retailers do not fully satisfy the demands of the international consumer. Refunds, as previously mentioned, are a prime example of this. The customer expects the process to be smooth ad timely, even if the product is being returned in a country different to the one in which the purchase originated.

There is still a significant level of confusion within the retail community. Companies are attempting to make this Omnichannel and Multichannel payment solution concept a reality. The goal is a marketplace (online and physical) where consumers have complete freedom of movement, this can only be achieved by a fully connected payment infrastructure.

Omni or Multi Channel Payments?

One of the fundamental differences between Omni and Multichannel payments resides in the level of integration within the payment ecosystem. Multi-channel is usually based on a non-integrated system of serving consumers, while Omnichannel requires a complete 360-degree integration of systems.

In a true Omni-channel environment the boundaries and challenges inherent in payment channels tend to disappear. This enables the consumer to benefit from a completely unified payment experience. The Omni-channel concept not only extends the range of different payment channels available to customers, it also unifies the needs of consumer and retailer and improves communication and interaction between both parties.

What has the payment industry done to support merchants with an Omni-channel approach? In the coming months, the payments industry will be heavily influenced by a number of important development. These changes intend to address fragmentation, overcome current barriers and harmonise rules of acceptance. Examples include:

  1. PSD2 is allowing Third Party Providers (TPPs) to play a more important role in the payment ecosystem
  2. The PCI Council is certifying Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solutions to limit the scope of merchant PCI certifications
  3. Tokenisation provides the additional security necessary to protect cardholder data in relevant end-customer’s purchasing scenarios.

Omni Channel Payment Solution for The Demanding Consumer

Although these new regulatory changes are kicking down barriers, there is still a very limited number of PSPs which can claim to be able to offer a single card-present and cardnot-present solution available throughout Europe. Legacy systems, security and compliance to local regulations are the biggest obstacles merchants face when attempting to offer a comprehensive Omni-channel cross border payment solution.

The recent integration of AltaPay and IPS Ltd, both subsidiaries of Valitor hf, (soon to be fully rebranded as AltaPay) and the combination of our two well established platforms has created a true Pan European Omni Channel Payment Solution. Merchants can benefit from a card-not-present and card-present solution which is currently live in 18 European countries allowing multiple acquirers connections through the same payment gateway.

With our solution, international merchants across multiple verticals including retail, can benefit from a variety of payment acceptance services, delivered from a centralised service model and supported by a customer centric care team. The AltaPay PCI P2PE (Point to Point Encryption) certified solution enables PCI DSS compliance while maintaining the level of solution flexibility, different payment options, as well as other associated services, which today’s consumers expect The integration of our two state of the art platforms (card-notpresent and card-present) allows us to use a unique token and database to exchange data between different sales channels, providing a complete track record of the consumer purchase history to merchants, regardless of which channel or in which country the transaction takes place.

AltaPay solution enables merchants to accept any alternative payment methods from any channel, from any country, whilst payment is tokenised with the transaction, allowing consumer data to be combined across different channels to better understand customers’ buying behaviour and to enhance the overall consumer payment experience. The reporting capabilities allow automatic reconciliation through one single comprehensive report, independently to which channel or location the purchase happens.

One aspect that makes the payment industry very exciting is the pace in which new changes are constantly introduced. Hopefully such changes will continue to improve the customer payment experience on the whole. Today’s channel agnostic consumers have increasingly high expectations, jumping seamlessly between web, mobile and in-store, they expect interactions to be contextual, consistent and most importantly, relevant to them.


If you would like to know more about AltaPay Omni-channel payment solution, please feel free to contact


About Marcio Stervid

Head of EMEA Market Development at AltaPay

Marcio’s professional experience spans for over 27 years working for organisations within different business environments with focus on:

Financial Services, Information Technology & Services and Banking. For the last 17+ years. Marcio has been closely involved with the payment industry covering different aspects of the business ecosystem such as issuing, POS, acquiring, services and advanced solutions. Marcio holds an MBA from Manchester Business School in the UK, as well as two degrees from high calibre universities in Brazil. Prior to joining AltaPay, Marcio has worked for VeriFone and also for Gemalto.


About AltaPay 

AltaPay provides a single connection for payments across e-commerce, in-store and mobile to global businesses. Our payment solution is fully tokenized for customer identification. This enables personalized experiences, click and collect, and return to store processes to increase customer satisfaction. AltaPay’s clients include, Fat Face, Sports Direct, Laura Ashley and ECCO.

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