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NCR latest payment service to integrate Bitcoin

H.S. Borji
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One of the world’s largest payments processors recently announced it was ready to integrate bitcoin into one of its merchant point-of-sale systems, a move that would allow small businesses to begin accepting the digital currency as a form of payment.

NCR Silver, a global payments company that reported more than $6 billion in revenue last year, said its POS systems will be ready to accept bitcoin, including mobile wallet payments, by the end of the month. The move will help NCR tap into a bigger share of the mobile payments market, which is expected to grow 58.5 percent to 28.9 billion transactions this year, according to Capgemini.

Through NCR, small businesses will have the opportunity to accept bitcoin without having to upgrade or change their POS. NCR is offering bitcoin integration for free to all merchants using its POS technology.

According NCR director of business development Reggie Kimble, bitcoin integration allows merchants to offer more flexible payment options to an increasingly digitized marketplace.

“Gone are the days when cash and cards were the only payment options available to customers shopping at small businesses,” Kimble said. “Offering bitcoin as a payment alternative allows small businesses the flexibility they need to better serve their growing number of customers who prefer digital payment solutions.”

Bitcoin, a breakthrough digital currency that allows users to make and receive payments instantly using peer-to-peer transactions independent of a central regulatory authority, is quickly gaining legitimacy worldwide. Last month the Independent Reserve launched Australia’s first bitcoin exchange, which provides a faster, more secure marketplace for buyers and sellers to meet.

Several high profile businesses have already started accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. Some of the big name companies accepting bitcoin include Expedia, WordPress.com, Zynga, Target and CVS.

Earlier this year it was reported that eBay was considering integrating bitcoin into Braintree, the company’s payment subsidiary. NCR and PayPal reached an agreement in 2013 allowing for the integration of the two companies’ platforms. The agreement allows NCR merchants to accept PayPal payments.

There is an estimated 76,000 merchants that accept bitcoin all over the world.

The number of people using bitcoin has surged this year, according to Blockchain, a bitcoin wallet service. Blockchain, which launched over two years ago, has over two million bitcoin wallets, having added approximately one million in the six months through August.

The growing market for bitcoin suggests digital currency is here to stay, despite all the negative attention it has received over the past two years. Governments and policymakers have been hesitant to accept bitcoin, given its potentially disruptive nature. Others are concerned that digital currency enables criminal activity due to the lack of regulation surrounding its use.

For all its promise, bitcoin is a highly volatile currency. The value of one bitcoin has fluctuated from as low as a few US dollars to more than $1,200. As of November 11, one bitcoin was valued at around $364.58 US.

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