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EMV Is Essential
The EMV liability shift deadline has come and gone, which means that all U.S. businesses need to be able to accept EMV payments if they do not want to be held liable for any fraudulent transactions processed at their locations. EMV differs from magnetic stripe technology in that it stores payment information in a computer chip embedded in each card. As a result, EMV cards can can only be read by inserting the end of the card containing the computer chip into a compatible credit card terminal and withdrawing the card once the transaction has been processed. This requires specialized terminals that allow customers to insert their cards into a slot rather than swipe them. Merchants who do not have the necessary EMV equipment at their locations will be responsible for any amounts fraudulently processed through their outdated equipment, which could expose them to tremendous penalties.
Luckily, merchant account providers and sales agents can now provide equipment upgrades and EMV-compatible terminals to business owners. To help you sort through the offers, we’ve compiled this list of the best EMV terminals for countertop, wireless, and customer-facing environments. The credit card terminals listed below are capable of accepting both magnetic stripe and EMV cards, and many of them include additional functionality like NFC acceptance.
No Need To Lease
If you can afford it, we recommend that you purchase a new or used EMV terminal upfront rather than lease it from a provider. This is because equipment leases are often far more expensive than the purchase price of the terminal, and they can come with steep cancellation penalties and multiyear agreements. Be sure to compare the different features and pricing of each terminal before making a purchase. It’s also smart to contact your merchant account provider to make sure that they will assist you in the setup of equipment that they did not sell.
Best Countertop EMV Terminals
The Verifone VX520 is a countertop terminal that accepts EMV, magnetic stripe, and NFC payments (optional). The VX520 includes built-in support for gift and loyalty programs and can be connected via a phone line or ethernet. It has a white backlit LCD interface and bright blue lighting behind its buttons for increased visibility in low light, and it includes an RS-232 (serial) port and two USB ports for hardware connectivity. Its paper door is transparent so that employees can monitor the paper supply, and it comes with a quick release to speed up the paper reload process. The VX520 is a reliable, low-cost option that will cover a merchant’s EMV obligations for the foreseeable future. We recommend it for most retail environments where employees are present at the point of sale. Find the VX520 on Amazon.
The Ingenico iPP320 is a lightweight, compact countertop terminal that can process contactless, EMV, NFC, Chip-and-PIN, and magnetic stripe payments. The iPP320 is available in the U.S. and Canada and comes with an RS-232 (serial) port, an ethernet port, and a USB port for simple hardware and POS connectivity. It does not appear to be compatible with phone line connections. The iPP320 comes with a color LCD screen and backlit buttons, and can be programmed to include optional customer menus in the checkout process. The iPP320 is an affordable option that meets EMV requirements and provides a great deal of flexibility for merchants who want to accept other payment types. We recommend the Ingenico iPP320 for retail environments that utilize an ethernet connection or an internet-connected POS system. Find the iPP320 on Amazon.
Best Wireless EMV Terminals
The Verifone VX680 is a handheld wireless terminal that utilizes a GPRS, Wi-Fi, 3G, or Bluetooth connection to process EMV, magnetic stripe, and NFC payments. The VX680 also supports ethernet and dial-up connectivity when resting on its charging base. It comes with a 3.5-inch color touch screen with audio and video capabilities, which is one of the largest and highest-quality screens of any handheld terminal. Other features include a built-in printer and two USB ports. The VX680 is an excellent option for merchants who would like their salespeople to be able to move freely around or between locations, or for businesses that do not have access to a wired ethernet or phone connection. Merchants should be sure to confirm that they receive reliable 3G service in their area if they intend to utilize this model. Find the VX680 on Amazon.
Ingenico’s iWL255 model is a small wireless terminal that is capable of processing EMV, magnetic stripe, and NFC payments via a GPRS/3G or LAN connection. The company also makes an iWL252 model that utilizes a Bluetooth connection rather than a data plan. The iWL255 charges via a stationary base or a car charger, gets a few days out of each full charge, and is the lightest handheld model on this list, making it one of the most mobile-friendly terminals on the market. It has a full color screen and connectivity for USB, a dial-up modem, or ethernet built into its charging base. It also comes with a built-in thermal printer. The iWL255 is recommended for salespeople who need to travel between sales locations or who work for long periods between battery charges. Find the iWL255 on Amazon
Square’s original headphone jack card reader kicked off the mobile payment processing revolution, but its new EMV card reader may be an even more impressive piece of technology. The slim, screen-free design keeps it small enough to carry between locations, and its battery can hold a charge for an entire day of sales. At under $50, it is easily the cheapest option on this list, and all it requires is a Bluetooth connection to a compatible mobile phone or tablet. The primary downside to using the Square EMV reader is that it can only be used with Square’s merchant account service. Square has received thousands of complaints due to For this reason, we only recommend Square’s EMV reader for merchants who process less than $5,000 per month. Find the Square EMV reader on Amazon.
Best Customer-Facing EMV Terminals
Verifone’s MX 880 terminal is a multimedia terminal designed to speed up the point of sale and market more effectively to customers as they initiate the payment process. The MX 880 can process magnetic stripe and EMV payments via an ethernet, USB, or Verifone cable connection. Its touch-enabled screen is capable of playing audio and video promotions or instructions as well as capturing signatures, and its recessed tactile keypad enables customers to input numerical information privately and efficiently. The MX 880 also comes with an upgradeable contactless payment module for later improvements at the merchant’s discretion. The Verifone MX 880 is recommended for locations with passive point-of-sale obligations (such as grocery stores and large retailers) that would like the ability to market to customers during the checkout process. Find the MX880 on Amazon.
The Ingenico iSC Touch 250 is a multilane POS solution that can accept magnetic stripe, EMV, Chip-and-PIN, and NFC payments via a USB, ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or GPRS connection. This all-in-one terminal is the most future-proof customer-facing terminal on this list thanks to its built-in acceptance of NFC payments and loyalty programs. The iSC Touch 250 comes with a 4.3-inch multimedia-enabled touch screen that can collect digital as well as biometric signatures. It is capable of storing and accessing more than 2,000 graphical libraries and of running new business service apps. The Ingenico iSC Touch 250 is an ideal option for locations with a customer-initiated payment process that would like to be able to accept contactless payments as they become more commonly used by customers. Find the iSC Touch 250 on Amazon.
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