The Power of Smart Payment Terminals

Gone are the days of simple swipe terminals in the U.S., where a payment could be captured using a dumb” USB device or keyboard reader.

Chip card technology (EMV) has brought forward a new class of devices that a retailer has to manage and with it a whole new set of challenges. 

Payment terminals need to be updated, just like any computer. Updated for security patches, functionality, redeployment, configuration changes, and when there is a change in payment acquirers for new encryption keys. We’ve seen numerous examples in the industry of retailers needing to bring in technical teams to each location to update terminals one by one, or have their terminals sent back to a secure injection facility in order to reconfigure them, both very costly operations.

There are a lot of positive changes that smart terminals bring as well. Features that are coming to terminals like contactless (tap) payments, Visa® Quick Chip and MasterCard® M/​Chip Fast for EMV® are going to enhance the checkout experience by providing simpler and more feature filled methods of payment. 

Retailers are beginning to use the terminals beyond just payment capability.

More than a payment?

Retailers are beginning to use the terminals beyond just payment capability. Custom forms or prompts, branding, customer contracts, advertisements and electronic signature capture are all features that weren’t available in previous generations of terminals. One of the key benefits retailers are taking advantage of is paperless operations, where receipts are emailed, signatures are captured electronically and contracts are executed via the terminal.

Overall, the move to smart terminals is a positive change as it provides the industry the ability to innovate and deliver new payment solutions faster.

So what is the solution here? How does a retailer manage their fleet of payment terminals? Terminal manufacturers and software vendors have been working on solutions for this by providing a web utility to monitor, manage and update these terminals centrally. These solutions are critical to keeping the maintenance costs down and providing more security benefits. 

In addition, a terminal management solution can be used to meet PCI-DSS requirement 9.9.1, as well as track suspicious activity such as unexpected serial number changes in the case where a fraudster replaces a terminal with a counterfeit unit. 

Further questions about EMV technology? Click below to read our payment processing resource titled, Debunking Myths About EMV.