How we created our own terminal network

    Hello, Habr. In August 2013, we began to create our own network of payment terminals. 10 months have passed since then, the terminal fleet has grown significantly. And today we would like to talk more about the features of the terminal design, its potential for expanding the capabilities of the device and our plans for the future for the development of the terminal network.

    Objective of the project

    Payment terminals are a very convenient tool: through one device you can quickly pay for various services, from cellular communications to water and electricity bills. Without access to a computer and the Internet, there is no need to register on the sites of different service providers. This payment method is recognized by millions of users. Earlier, the terminals were provided by partner companies, but the experience of customers using the terminals in our stores was reflected in us. When the terminal is installed in the MegaFon salon, users turn to the salon with all questions regarding its operation and wishes to add new services.

    Therefore, we decided to create our own network of terminals for use in MegaFon salons. The aim of this project was to provide a high level of service and prompt response to all customer requests. And this could be achieved only by managing all the components of the terminal network, starting from the devices themselves and ending with the processing center. For example, unlike many other networks, in 90% of cases we check in advance the possibility of making a payment, which reduces the time of transactions.

    Terminal design

    First of all, it was decided not to use terminals of standard designs, but to create their own device with a wide range of possibilities for receiving payments and with the possibility of further expansion. We decided not only to accept cash, but to create a terminal that, in addition to accepting bills, will be equipped with modules for working with barcodes, bank cards and NFC. The latter feature in the future will allow our users to replenish travel tickets for public transport, as well as use mobile devices equipped with an NFC-module for payment.

    For example, we have already reached an agreement with the Moscow Metro on the integration of MegaFon terminals with the Troika system. And by the end of summer we plan to provide the opportunity to replenish the balance of this universal transport card using our terminals. Today, a number of technical and legal issues are being worked out.

    From a hardware point of view, the terminals are fully ready to accept all three types of payments: cash, using bank cards and a contactless method. The timing of the commissioning of the last two types depends solely on the coordination of financial and legal conditions with all interested parties. After that, payments by credit card and contactless method will be possible after one of the software updates.

    We have already mentioned that barcode scanners are built into our terminals. At the moment, the software allows you to read bar codes, in the future we will introduce support for various two-dimensional codes (for example, QR). The barcode scanner allows you to quickly enter all payment details, making it easier to pay utility bills or traffic fines

    Appearance has also changed. We have gone from standard corner racks. The bottom touch screen has a diagonal of 17 inches. In addition, we equipped the terminal with a second display with a diagonal of 27 inches and a resolution of 1920x1080, which serves as an advertising medium. This allows you to very effectively attract the attention of salon visitors, especially when displaying a bright and dynamic picture on the upper display. Even if a person has not approached the terminal, then with a high probability he will notice from afar the image on the large display.

    To avoid “brakes” during the demonstration of high-quality graphic information, we put together a fairly productive system:

    • Processor: Intel Original LGA-1155 Pentium G2130 (3 GHz)
    • Motherboard: Asus P8B75-M Soc-1155 iB75 DDR3 mATX AC`97 8ch GbLAN SATA3 VGA + DVI + HDMI
    • RAM: DDR3 2048Mb 1333MHz Crucial (ST25664BA1339)
    • Video card: Palit PCI-E NV GF210 512Mb 32bit (TC) DDR3 625/589

    All terminals are manufactured in Russia, which allows much better control over the build quality. In particular, our employees go to the acceptance of each new batch to monitor compliance with all requirements. The non-standard configuration of the terminal case led to the fact that the production process became more complicated in comparison with the “ordinary” terminals, but thanks to this we ensured convenient service. In addition, the project laid down strict requirements for the wear resistance of the nodes. This led to the fact that the first batches of terminals returned to production until the necessary quality indicators were obtained.


    MegaFon terminals are running Windows Embedded Standard 7. This has avoided a number of problems related to information security, which is typical for terminals running Windows XP.

    A lot of attention was paid to the development of the user interface. We did not invent a bicycle and analyzed the experience of other companies. It’s better to learn from the mistakes of others. We tried to avoid miscalculations in the interface, typical for third-party terminal networks. In particular, overloaded with advertising, especially in the form of pop-ups, on which it is difficult to find the close button. Our interface is divided into strictly fixed zones, designed to display advertising, controls, display useful information. And these zones never intersect, do not change their size. We do not allow buttons with different actions, for example, “next” and “cancel”, to be displayed in different places in the same place on the display. Before coming to the current interface, We conducted research on the convenience of different control placement options. In particular, the optimal time was selected between the automatic change of information on the screen so that users had time to enter all the data, but also so that the input form did not appear for too long. For each form, we experimentally came to different time intervals, from 30 to 120 seconds.

    Such measures allowed to significantly reduce the proportion of errors when working with terminals. Users have gained experience using terminals, buttons are pressed intuitively, as is customary for the user. For this reason, we kept the navigation layout familiar to terminal users.

    Network infrastructure

    No special preparations are required to install the terminal in the cabin. Enough electrical outlet and network cable. Data exchange takes place through the MegaFon internal network, which allows for a high level of security. We also do not use third-party data centers to operate the terminal network; all transaction processing is carried out at our own facilities. Communication security is ensured by the tunnel to each terminal.

    Economic advantage

    Perhaps the most negative for terminal users is the fees. In some cases, they reach completely indecent dimensions. For example, at airports this is up to 20% of the payment amount. In the network of MegaFon terminals, we do not charge fees for payments. Rare exceptions are cases when the service provider himself makes a condition on the acceptance of the commission. In the vast majority of cases, the cost of services is paid in our terminal network at par. The payback of the project is due to the sale of advertising and the receipt of agency fees. Therefore, users in our stores can, for example, pay a subscription fee for using the Internet and online games, transfer electronic money, pay for the services of any mobile operator without additional overpayments.


    Now the fleet of our terminals is about 700 pcs. By the end of the year, we plan to reach the 2000 mark. So far, usage statistics have not brought any discoveries: 90% of transactions are payments for mobile communications, which is completely expected. Peak payments occur at the junction of months: 2-3 days of the previous and first days of the next. Usually during this period, the daily turnover in the terminal network grows 2.5-3 times. This is an understandable phenomenon: people receive salaries and are in a hurry to spend honestly earned money.

    There are no differences in preferences among users from megalopolises and surrounding areas, most often they pay for approximately the same services, of course, taking into account the region. Other data will be available after the start of accepting bank cards and contactless payments.

    In the near future: the introduction of such services as payment of air and railway tickets, movie tickets, payment of parking lots and all kinds of traffic police services including fines and other payments.

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