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A Thing The Practical Implementation of a Customer-Interactive Interface

The Practical Implementation of a Customer-Interactive Interface

I ntegrated PIN pad versus external PIN pad

By Mike English, Director, Corporate Communications, Ingenico Is an integrated PIN pad practical in a merchant store or service provider location and does it provide security, investment protection and reliability the retailer needs? Although Ingenico terminals support both internal and external PIN pads, we believe it is in the best interest of the merchant, ISO, processor and financial institution to know the facts. All-in-One There has been a movement within the merchant bankcard community and an acceptance by merchants to implement integrated EFT POS terminals where the operator interface, printer, modem and magnetic stripe reader are combined in the same cabinet. The objective of creating an "all-in-one" device is to reduce implementation time and support cost. The benefits for the processor and ISO are reduced counter space, reduced cable clutter and increased reliability.

Additionally, the terminal manufacturers also are offering terminals where the PIN pad is integrated within the terminal, underneath the keypad. As an external PIN pad, the internal option is used for online debit and electronic benefits transfer. However, the integration of this device might not be in the best interest of the processor, financial institution, ISO or merchant. Here's why:

A merchant at a small store usually will place the EFT POS terminal away from the front of the counter, near the telephone and away from customer contact, for four reasons:

- Asset protection: Although not an everyday occurrence, there have been reports of cash registers and EFT POS terminals being stolen. And even if a merchant leases or rents the terminal, there is a sense of ownership because it is a way of receiving and accounting for revenue. Many small-store retailers do not want the EFT POS terminal in direct reach or view of the customer for both protection and aesthetics.

- Location of telephone: For line-sharing, merchants place the terminal near the telephone for instances when the merchant needs to speak with the processor about transaction issues.

- Cable strain: What is the impact on the longevity of a POS terminal when it is turned continuously from operator view to customer view and back? If one of the reasons that manufacturers decided to integrate the printer and other elements into the base terminal was to eliminate the cable as a point of failure, why would we want to reduce the longevity by placing continuous stress on the power and communication cables?

- Countertop space: Although when a terminal with an integrated PIN pad is sitting on the countertop it takes less room than a terminal with an external PIN pad, the terminal requires three times the space (depending upon the terminal size in relation to its width) to swivel. So your required space is less with an external PIN pad. A large number of EFT POS terminals are shipped with integrated PIN pads, but what percentage of those are actually used for customer PIN entry? Our studies indicate a very low percentage of the merchants who were sold swivel stands actually use them for that specific purpose. Many retailers such as hair salons and auto-parts stores have dual-height countertops that inhibit the use of a swivel display. Popularity of External PIN Entry Devices Customers have grown accustomed to entering their PIN for online debit and EBT in multilane retail stores using PIN pads that face them. Multilane retail predominantly uses customer-activated payment that is separate from the electronic cash register. Why? Transaction time is reduced, the customers perceive that they are in control of their card, and the POS terminal is protected, leaving only the PIN entry device exposed. As consumer use and the issuance of dual-branded cards increase, so too will online debit - it is spreading from supermarkets and grocery into specialty stores, department stores and fast food. As it is implemented by national and regional retailers, so it will be by smaller stores. When Is It Practical to Integrate the PIN Pad? There are instances when integrating the PIN pad is acceptable. In the case of portable terminals, where the terminal is handed to the customer for PIN entry in circumstances such as home delivery and restaurants, integrating the PIN pad is desired. Summary Small-store merchants providing online or EBT as a payment option should be provided the option of installing an external PIN pad. Aesthetics, security and counter space are variables that should be discussed with a merchant.





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