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Love your payment tech: 5 ways to care for your point of sale equipment

Does love or money make the world go round? In the case of your payment tech, they may be equally important. Loving your payment terminal will result in increased up-time, increased sales and reduced costs. For the non-romantics of the world, don’t worry, we’ve got some stats too.

‘Customer Damage’ is the most common fault code assigned to payment terminals and PIN Pads when they come back for repair. If a device is found to be broken because it has not been taken care of sufficiently, a sizeable bill will be winging its way to the merchant. Here are 5 straightforward ways to avoid such charges by loving your terminal:

1. Reduce cable damage

Terminals are both customer and merchant facing. The process of entering the payment details and passing the device to the customer for PIN entry happens several times a day … the more the better from a merchant’s perspective, however, your poor terminal will feel the strain. Of the ‘customer damaged’ devices seen in repair centres every day, chewed cables is a common sight. You can reduce the likelihood of this happening by mounting your payment terminal on a stand and routing the cables down a pole. This has the added benefit of hiding the cables from anyone looking to tamper with the device and allows you to comply with a substantial part of PCI-P2PE – several birds with one stone!


2. Reduce accidental damage from dropping or spillages

Point of sale equipment that is off the counter and fixed in place on a payment terminal mount are out of harm’s way when it comes to being accidentally knocked off the counter or covered in an order of drinks (you guessed it … sticky buttons covered in cola also fall under the ‘customer damage’ category). Tamper responsive terminals wipe all data and render themselves useless until repaired if they detect a tamper attempt. Hard knocks can prompt ‘false tampers’ and consequently a ‘customer damage’ bill.

3. Protection against the bad guys

The payment terminal is the front facing part of a much larger system. In the same way as a burglar will simply ‘try the door’ before embarking on a mission impossible inspired break in, criminals in the payments industry will choose the path of least resistance and target the payment terminal. Devices can be tampered with in a number of clever, difficult to detect ways. Lock the terminal in place and deny access to the inside of the device and cables and you are well on your way to protecting your payment device and your customers’ data. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) 2011 – 2013 :

97% of attacks involved tampering, generally of payment systems — including payment servers (59%), and payment terminals and pay at the pump devices (47%). Payment terminals at small stores and restaurants are often particularly soft targets.

4. Theft

At any point in time, hundreds of payment machines are available on online auction sites for criminals to take apart, understand how they work and add malicious software to. These rogue devices can then be substituted for live devices in the field aiming to obtain cardholder data. The payments card industry are all over this and their Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) details ways to comply. A document from Visa includes the following advice to prevent terminal theft:

Anchor your equipment with secure stands, tethers, or alarms to prevent devices from being replaced by substitutes and reduce the chance of tampering. Connector cables should also be safeguarded. Whenever possible, protect them by using a conduit, or contain them within a secure structure.

5. Give it a makeover

There is a fine line between clever merchandising to encourage impulse buys and cluttering the point of sale. A well-presented and protected payment terminal is a happy payment terminal … well, it’s much more likely to be a ‘working’ terminal. Electronic payment downtime has a significant cost to the business and frequent downtime will result in loss of regular customers and will give an unprofessional impression.

As a merchant, you may not have thought of all these points previously. Sometimes the non-romantics among us need a nudge in the right direction when it comes to caring about the people and objects around us … and some are higher maintenance than others. Keep your payment terminal low maintenance by investing in a secure payment terminal mount from the outset. It is a relatively low cost investment which will hugely increase your ROI and uptime and decrease your TCO … in other words, love your payment tech this February (and throughout the year).



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