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What Is PIN on Glass technology?

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Editorial Team

5 min read
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As a brick-and-mortar retailer, it doesn’t take much to begin accepting credit cards. All you need is a merchant account and either a virtual terminal, a POS system, or a credit card reader — and you’re good to go. 

Despite how easy it is to get started, an estimated 55 percent of small businesses throughout the U.S. don’t take plastic.1 They simply can’t worry about the upfront cost of installing expensive credit card readers at every checkout counter. 

For them, accepting cash seems both easier and cheaper. 

Moreover, according to a recent survey of more than 2,000 small business owners, 56 percent of them had yet to transition to the more secure EMV standard. They continue using legacy readers despite the risks of having to pay stiff penalties if fraud occurs within their payment environments.2 The cost to upgrade is largely the blame. However, PIN on Glass (PoG) is a payment technology that some believe will revolutionize the retail industry. If these predictions come true, credit card processing could become substantially less expensive for merchants. 

How does PIN on glass work?

PIN on Glass is a payment technology that eliminates the need for bulky and expensive hardware, such as credit card readers. Instead of using a standalone terminal at the point of sale, merchants can use pre-existing smart devices, such as a mobile phone or tablet, to process in-store payments. 

It’s worth noting that mobile payment processing isn’t new. There already exists a number of solutions that allow customers to dip or swipe their cards through a mobile-enabled reader. Thereafter, they can provide their signatures — either on a printed receipt or directly on the mobile device itself. 

Because signatures can be easy to forge, the readers offer little protection from fraud. This partially explains why the major card brands decided to drop the signature requirement in 2018.3

With PIN on Glass technology, however, retailers can turn their smart devices into fully-featured EMV readers that are capable of accepting personal identification numbers (PINs) directly on the touchscreen (i.e., glass). 

This could be a game changer. With PIN on Glass, merchants receive the security benefits of a standalone EMV terminal — without incurring huge costs. Those savings can be substantial. 

A basic EMV chip card reader might set you back a couple hundred dollars per unit.4 If you have multiple checkout counters in your business, those costs can really add up. 

By contrast, most businesses (and employees) already have smart devices. This means that with some detachable or Bluetooth® readers and a few software updates, you could turn every phone in your store into a credit card processing machine. 

The advantages of PoG technology

PIN on Glass could help revolutionize the retail world. Below are just some of the advantages of this innovative technology:

  • Credit card processing becomes more affordable for those who have delayed upgrading their payment environments due to cost. 
  • Merchants and customers alike benefit from much greater fraud protection, as PIN on Glass leverages the same security technology that already comes standard with most chip-enabled EMV readers. 
  • Higher credit card acceptance means more transactional volume (and fees) for payment processors and banks. 
  • PIN on Glass is truly a mobile solution, so transactions are no longer tethered to a single location. Businesses are able to securely process credit card payments off-site at conferences, trade shows, and in the field. 

All of these benefits fit into the payment industry’s long-term goal of placing less emphasis on “hardware” as it moves toward a more software-based approach. This transition helps make updates, tracking, and analytics easier to manage across the board. 

Is PIN on glass right for your retail business?

If you’ve already purchased EMV readers for your store, it might not make sense to move to this new payment technology. The direct switching costs are quite low, but there are many indirect costs once you factor in things such as employee training and software configuration. 

Therefore, you may be better off sticking with your current setup until your EMV terminals need replacing. 

However, PIN on Glass might be just what you’re looking for if: 

  • You want to accept online EBT payments
  • You currently lease your EMV readers for a monthly fee
  • You’re using legacy credit card terminals in your store
  • You don’t accept plastic — due to cost or security concerns
  • You want to process credit cards payments at off-site events 

If you fall into any of these categories, PIN on Glass may be a perfect fit for your business.

Getting started with PIN on glass

Want to learn more about this innovative payment technology? We’re here to help. To get started, schedule a free consultation with our team today.

1 “Why PIN on Glass Is the Next Big Thing,” Digital Transactions, 2 January 2018
2 “Still Not Accepting EMV Chip Cards? Why You Need to Switch,” Business News Daily, 4 February 2019
3 “Mastercard, Discover, AmEx and Visa ditching signatures,” Creditcards.com, 17 November 2017
4 “Do You Really Need an EMV Chip Card Terminal,” Merchant Maverick, 23 January 2020

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