Best Chip Enabled EMV Card Readers & Terminals

EMV Terminal and PIN Pad
© Depositphotos – Evgeny Tyzhinov

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EMV Is The Future

This October is the EMV liability shift deadline set by Visa and MasterCard, which means that all U.S. businesses will need to be able to accept EMV payments by October 1 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EMV equipment at their locations by October 1 will be responsible for any amounts fraudulently processed through their outdated equipment, which could expose them to tremendous penalties.

In anticipation of this deadline, merchant account providers and sales agents have started to market 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, customer-initiated, and restaurant sales 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 or gift and loyalty support. 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


Verifone VX520
Photo courtesy of Verifone

Verifone VX520

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.


Ingenico iPP320
Photo courtesy of Ingenico

Ingenico iPP320

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 the upcoming EMV requirements and allows for 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


Equinox T4220
Photo courtesy of Equinox

Equinox T4220

Equinox (formerly known as Hypercom) offers a model called the T4220 that is an ideal low-cost EMV terminal for countertop point-of-sale environments. The T4220 includes a bidirectional magnetic stripe reader and an EMV card reader but does not support NFC payments. It also has a white backlit LCD screen and programmable navigation buttons. This model primarily connects to payment processing networks via ethernet, but it also has a dial backup for processing transactions when the internet is down. The T4220 has a dedicated PIN port for an optional PIN pad, and its navigational buttons can be programmed to best suit each merchant’s preferred checkout process. The T4220 is recommended for retail environments with internet and phone line connections, as these types of merchant will be able to take advantage of the terminals dial backup feature. Find the T4220 on Amazon.


Best Wireless EMV Terminals


Verifone VX680
Photo courtesy of Verifone

Verifone VX680

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 iWL255
Photo courtesy of Ingenico

Ingenico iWL255

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


Equinox M4230
Photo courtesy of Equinox

Equinox M4230

The Equinox M4230 is a mobile terminal that comes with a magnetic stripe reader and can include an optional EMV reader. This model utilizes a GPRS connection to process payments, but the company also offers an M4240 terminal that connects to a local IP via Bluetooth. The Equinox M4230 comes with a white backlit LED screen and can make use of a backup dial modem connection through its optional charging base. The M4230 is the largest wireless terminal on this list, but it comes with a top-loading paper printer for easy access and a dedicated PIN port for an optional PIN pad. The M4230 is a mobile terminal that resembles a countertop terminal in appearance and function, and it is therefore best suited for merchants who primarily utilize a stationary terminal but would like the ability to easily pick up and use their terminal elsewhere. Find the M4230 on Amazon


Best Customer-Facing EMV Terminals


Verifone MX 880
Photo courtesy of Verifone

Verifone MX 880

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.


Ingenico iSC Touch 250
Photo courtesy of Ingenico

Ingenico iSC Touch 250

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.


Equinox L5200
Photo courtesy of Equinox

Equinox L5200

The Equinox L5200 is a robust point-of-sale terminal that accepts EMV, magnetic stripe, contactless, and NFC payments through a USB or ethernet connection. The L5200 has a 4.3-inch (diagonal) LCD display with an audio speaker and audio jack as well as signature capture capability. This model’s PIN pad is side-lit with a rubber privacy shield to protect customers’ PIN numbers. It also includes a micro SD port for additional memory expansion. The Equinox L5200 is a reliable option for nearly all customer-facing payment environments, and, like the iSC Touch 250, it positions merchants well for the future development of NFC payment options.


If your company offers provider-agnostic credit card processing terminals, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services sales agent who believes the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal from hard working business owners. He created this website to help you avoid the bad players, save money on fees, and to get peace of mind with your merchant account. If you would like to help support his work, learn more about our cost reduction service. We can evaluate your statement, tell you exactly how much you're overpaying, and then help you dramatically reduce your fees with your current credit card processor. Looking to switch instead? See our list of the best merchant account providers.

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2 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

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  1. Lindel Bailey says:

    The T4xxx terminals’ certificates have expired. If for some reason the power goes off they will no longer work.

  2. Never buy a Equinox model T4220, it damaged right after 12 months. We still have Hypercom in our 3 locations since 18 years and it is still working. I am placing review in all different places

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