By now, most merchants are aware of the transition to an EMV enabled form of accepting credit card payments. The mandate has come and gone for the credit card companies to setup the infrastructure required to make chip technology work on their end. This shift in liability has hardware manufactures busy creating equipment that works with the new standard. Then these EMV readers need to integrate with existing POS hardware. And finally, updates have to be made to each POS software. It’s a lot of moving parts that all have to work together.
Some of the major point of sale app developers hit the challenges head on. Companies like Squareup and Shopkeep recognized the complexity of the situation and developed their own proprietary EMV card readers. Taking that approach made it easier to build a fully working system. These type of readers continue to use either the audio port or lightning jack and look similar to the previous swipers. They have the addition of another slot that holds a card in place throughout the transaction while the chip is read. These readers are also limited to signature verification and don’t have a way to input PINs.
Other app developers like Vend and SalesVu have maintained a focus on software and left hardware development to established third parties. Equipment vendors like Ingenico and Dejavoo have developed PIN pads that can be used with a variety of apps. These kinds of readers are separate, stand beside units that connect though WiFi, Bluetooth or ethernet. The tricky part comes with the interactions between the software, the processor and the hardware. The software is usually configured to be used with a select number of processors. In turn, the processor needs to configure the card reader with their specifications. This setup offers more choices than a full proprietary system. You can run into situations where your software might dictate which processor and brand of hardware you can use or vice versa. While that was the case before the transition, it will be more specific going forward.
The main change the chip and pin enabled merchants will notice is some extra hardware. One of the nice things about the iPad as a POS system is its mobility. When a card swiper is attached to the iPad, it becomes very easy to go to your customers. You can check customers out on the sales floor or easily bring the system to shows or events. With a stand beside terminal, there is a little more work involved keeping everything in sync. Without being able to access the cellular functions of the iPad, the credit card terminal will need a network. Depending on the model, you’ll need either a WiFi or hardline internet drop to get it to work. You will also need to be connected to the iPad through that same WiFi network or BlueTooth.
For many merchants, this stand beside setup is nothing new. Other than a quick software update and swapping out the table top card reader, business will continue as usual. Whatever your point of sale situation, we at American Metro are happy to help you find and keep a solution that’s right for you. For help going through your options or questions about EMV or any POS related matter, contact us at the link below.