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NCR Exec: Merchant Response to Bitcoin Eclipsed Apple Pay

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on November 24, 2014 at 21:00 BST

NCRBitcoin has been the most well-received alternative payment method that NCR Silver has added to its point-of-sale (POS) platform, according to product manager Reggie Kimble.

Speaking to CoinDesk about his company's new partnership with bitcoin merchant processor BitPay, Kimble suggested that the addition of bitcoin payments has so far garnered more attention than integrations for options such as Apple Pay and PayPal.

Kimble said:

"When you look at our past alternative payment methods, I would say this has probably been the most well-received in terms of people commenting and people reaching out proactively to ask questions about the offering."

NCR Silver added bitcoin payments on 10th November, allowing small merchants to enable the payment option at their mobile POS terminals. The company added Apple Pay support on 9th September and enabled PayPal support in January 2013.

Kimble called the reaction a surprising development, one that in turn allowed the more than 100-year-old POS terminal, ATM and payment kiosk provider to showcase how it is seeking to embrace payments innovation.

The product manager, who joined NCR in 2008, went on to state that NCR Silver aims to keep up with developments in the bitcoin space, adopting a "watch-and-learn" strategy.

Founded in 2012, NCR Silver is a subdivision of the NCR Small Business unit, functioning, according to Kimble, as a startup within the $6.1bn financial conglomerate.

NCR to attend Bitcoin Bowl

Kimble also revealed one specific event where NCR will be watching and learning about the bitcoin ecosystem: the Bitcoin St Petersburg Bowl, an annual NCAA college football playoff game, this year to be sponsored by BitPay.

Stating that NCR Silver is to be "very involved" in the event, Kimble cited the opportunity for such exposure as just one of the motivating factors that convinced NCR Silver it was time to offer bitcoin payments to its merchants.

"We're going to have our POS solution in the stadium in their fanzone, accepting bitcoin for transactions," Kimble remarked. "So, when we look at opportunities to co-market and support one of our partners, and you couple that with merchant and consumer demand, it becomes a priority on our end to get that development work done."

Kimble also suggested that NCR Silver saw bitcoin as part of a larger trend for small merchants.

Specifically, he noted that the company's market research and business analyst team found that its customers were increasingly interested in bitcoin.

Guided by research

Prior to partnering with BitPay, Kimble indicated that NCR Silver had been monitoring bitcoin's development at a distance. However, once the company began to learn more, Kimble said his team became convinced accepting bitcoin was the right move for the brand.

In particular, Kimble cited recent research that suggests 70% of small business owners are interested in accepting bitcoin, but don't because their POS provider hasn't yet integrated the payment option.

"The small business community is where our focus is," Kimble said.

Kimble indicated that NCR has not yet gathered enough data on the bitcoin transactions it so far has processed, though the company may look to issue these figures at a later date.

Point-of-sale images via NCR

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