Portable 1990s POS Will Strain Your Back

[JR] over at [Tech Throwback] got ahold of an unusual piece of gear recently — a portable Point of Sale (POS) credit card machine from the late 1990s (video, embedded below the break ). Today these machines can be just a small accessory that works in conjunction with your smart phone, but only the most dedicated merchants would lug this behemoth around. The unit is basically a Motorola bag phone, a credit card scanner, a receipt printer, a lead-acid battery, and a couple of PCBs crammed into a custom carrying case

Handset Detail

Despite having a lot of documentation, [JR] struggles to find any information on this U.S. Wireless POS-50. He finds that the credit card scanner is an Omron CAT-95 authorization terminal, and the Motorola SCN-2397B phone appears to come from the Soft-PAK series.

He is able to power it up, but can’t do much with is because he is missing the authorization password. But regardless, with the demise of the Advanced Mobile Phone System for over a decade, this 850 MHz band analog phone can’t connect to the network anymore.

If you happen to know anything about this old POS, or used a similar luggable system for accepting credit cards in the 1990s, let us know in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Portable 1990s POS Will Strain Your Back

  1. “This Motorola cell phone doesn’t exist”. Clickbait.
    Motorola also sold OEM kits. Back in the AMPS/(E)TACS/NMT era nearly every mobile operator rolled his own variants of the standards, resulting in dozens of model numbers that never appeared in official catalogs.
    btw: the letter assignement on the keypad of the “MAPP” box is the Australian variant.

  2. What is the quote about a good idea at the wrong time? From what little I can find, they were trying to be Square three decades too early. From Bloomberg:

    US Wireless Data Inc/Old

    U.S. Wireless Data Inc. applies wireless technology to the payments industry through its proprietary software, carrier relationships, front-end authorization/capture, and real-time, online reporting capability. The Company’s Synapse technology brings together transaction processing, wireless data transport, and the Internet to enable seamless wireless payment processing.


    It looks like the whole thing got their stockholders very unhappy:

    America Banker
    U.S. Wireless is sued over stock offering.
    October 20, 1994, 1:00 a.m. EDT

    BOULDER, Colo.– U.S. Wireless Data Inc., the maker of a point of sale terminal that communicates by cellular telephone, said a class of its shareholders has filed a lawsuit against the company in U.S. District Court in Denver.

    The complaint arises from an initial public stock offering in 1993 and makes allegations similar to those in a class action filed in September in Denver District Court. As in that instance, U.S. Wireless said the suit is without merit. The company intends to file a “vigorous” response.

    U.S. Wireless said its recently introduced POS-50 is “the world’s first integrated wireless credit card and check authorization terminal.”

    (https://www.americanbanker.com/news/us-wireless-is-sued-over-stock-offering )

    There is also an FCC consent decree filing but it’s Sunday and I’m not going to track it down.

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