EMV terminal buyers guide

Tips before selecting an EMV terminal for credit card processing. Which is better, desktop or multilane?  Which model is right for my business? Should I buy an extended warranty?

Merchants should be aware that all terminals in this article are EMV ready, but that doesn’t mean you can buy and start accepting EMV immediately. That’s because every terminal model has to be certified to each processor, and that process is woefully incomplete. Sticking with the top brands, Verifone, Ingenico, and Equinox (formerly Hypercom), and models will be the fastest path to accepting EMV.  All processors expect certifications to be complete by the October 2015 liability shift.

Should I buy a desktop or multilane signature capture EMV terminal ?

The answer is not black and white.

Choose multi-lane EMV terminal if:

  • Business to consumer and business to business
  • Mixed card present and card not present
  • Higher risk of fraud and disputes
  • Multiple locations, centralized or remote accounting and reconciliation
  • Using a cloud based point of sale or payment processing solution

Choose desktop EMV terminal if:

  • Merchant sells to consumers
  • Low dollar volume (under $20,000 per month), low fraud risk

If you’re not sure, contact a consultant for advice. The more complex your payment needs, the more likely multilane is a better choice.

Which model should I buy?

Because every terminal has to be certified to every processor for any connection, please contact your relationship manager before making a terminal decision. For example, the CenPOS certification for Verifone MX915 to First Data is for CenPOS only; First Data merchants can’t buy the Verifone MX915 and use with a different virtual terminal, unless it’s also been certified.  Due to time and expense, vendors will likely minimize terminal certifications by model and processor. 

  • Multi-lane- They’re more like a mini computer, and with a higher investment, but there are also more efficiencies and other benefits to be gained. For each brand there are multiple choices, the lowest cost option is suitable for any business, and has the smallest footprint. The Ingenico ISC250 and 350 are especially flat and may require a permanent terminal stand. So far, my customers have had no problems with the Verifone MX915 and its EMV certified today. The Equinox L5200 has also been extremely reliable. The L5200 is the lowest cost unit my customers have extensive experience with.
  • Desktop – Verifone VX520, Ingenico ICT series or First Data

Verifone VX520 terminal with EMV NFC Contactless $99 Sale

VX520 emv NFC verifone terminal

Ingenico ING, iCT220, v3, 160Mb, Dial/Ethernet, Terminal/Printer/PIN Pad/SCR/Contactless and iCT250

ict250 ingenico emv terminal

 First Data FD130 or FD35, a pin pad peripheral; compatible only with First Data. I’ve never been a fan of buying a terminal that is processor specific. There’s a multitude of reasons a business might need to change processors at some point.

Which EMV terminals are compatible with CenPOS payment platform?

  • Verifone MX915 is certified with First Data today;  more processors are in progress.
  • Ingenico ISC 250 will be certified by October
  • Equinox L5200 will be certified by October
  • Check with your relationship manager for compatibility with your specific merchant processor

Should I buy an extended warranty?

For multi-lane, yes.  Without it, repairs are usually 8 weeks plus, and start at $150 average just to assess the problem. That brings the starting price to about $650 with all peripherals, programming, and 5 year warranty. For desktop, it depends on how mission critical it is. If you don’t have an overnight replacement guarantee or backup plan, you’ll have no way to accept payments while out for repair. This might be OK if you have multiple terminals, but not if it’s the only way to accept payments.

Where can I buy terminals?

Your merchant account salesperson can handle everything. If you buy from a 3rd party, make sure it’s a reputable source. Terminals have been injected with malware so buyer beware. Additionally, terminals may need to be injected with confidential pin debit or P2PE keys at a secure approved facility.

Wholesale prices are available through Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant Services,  for all customers using our other services. A new merchant account is NOT required to buy a multi-lane terminal if buying our gateway services;

Click here to learn about the $100 American Express EMV Upgrade Rebate.

Multi-lane signature capture terminals require a payment gateway to function. Contact us for omnichannel payment gateway to use standalone or with light integration to any POS. ERP or accounting software. Our solutions segregate payments from your applications to reduce PCI Compliance scope.


3D Merchant Services Powered by CenPOS
2633 NE 26th Ave Metro South FloridaFL33064 USA 
 • 954-942-0483

American Express EMV terminal rebate for small business

Eligible U.S. small merchants who have obtained an upgraded EMV point of sale system, can request a one-time $100 reimbursement at www.americanexpress.com/fightfraud. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted by April 30, 2015.

Basic rules:

  • upgrade to a chip-enabled point of sale system (EMV)
  • apply by April 30, 2015
  • U.S. Small merchants with less than $3 million in annual American Express charge volume are eligible
  • Online only businesses and government merchants are excluded.
  • Limit one (1) $100 Reward Card per merchant. (If you have multiple locations with different merchant accounts and EIN, you can apply for each.)

We recommend only buying a terminal that supports both NFC and EMV. Why limit how customers can pay in the future? See also our EMV buyers guide.

VX520 terminal with EMV NFC Contactless $99 Sale

The Verifone VX5520 is a reliable credit card terminal, compatible with any merchant account.

VX520 emv NFC verifone terminal

I rarely recommend desktop terminals, because they generally are not the best choice for my type of customers, which often are business to business, multi-location, or have a mix of card present and card not present. For single store retail shops and small businesses, this is a great value. Included:

  • Built-in debit pin pad
  • Built in printer
  • EMV Contact and contactless
  • NFC contactless
  • Ethernet & Dial

Sale price while supplies last, $99 with any new merchant account.

Verifone has a version without Contactless/NFC, however, I don’t recommend it for two reasons. One, it limits the types of payment methods your customers can pay with, such as excluding Apple Pay. Two, to meet additional incentives from MasterCard for upgrading to EMV, merchants must support both contact and contactless.

EMV deadline misinformation is rampant

emv smart card

EMV chip smart card.

Even the major news publications are publishing misinformation about EMV for retail. This article identifies some common false claims.

CLAIM: Equipment upgrade to EMV by October is mandatory. False. There’s no mandatory requirement for merchants to upgrade to EMV by the card associations. Acquirers are encouraging merchants to update, but it’s not a mandate.

CLAIM: Merchants are not liable for fraud if they support EMVFalse. Beginning October 2015, either the issuer or merchant that is the cause of a contact chip
transaction not occurring will be financially liable for any resulting card present counterfeit
fraud losses. Lost and stolen card use is not applicable. The card brands also have differing exceptions and extra incentives to encourage adoption of EMV.

MasterCard requires hybrid EMV terminals (support of both contact and contactless interfaces) to qualify for all merchant incentives, which also include Account Data Compromise (ADC) and PCI audit relief.

Has your company suffered from card present losses due to counterfeit fraud? Do you have an older terminal that needs to be replaced? Then getting an EMV terminal obviously makes sense. Before choosing a new terminal, consult with an expert that will explore all causes of lost credit card disputes resulting in chargebacks. Ask how the solution will help with not only preventing losses from disputes, but how will it help with interchange management, the bulk of credit card processing fees reducing PCI compliance burden, and any other concerns.

What if your company hasn’t had any card present fraud problems? There’s still incentives to replace equipment. Consider consulting with an expert not associated with your merchant account for advice. Why? If the processor has limited options to offer, then you’ll only be advised on what their company sells, not what all the best choices are for your business.


Verifone MX915 multilane signature capture terminal EMV POS solution

Verifone MX915 signature capture terminal

Verifone MX915 signature capture terminal.

CenPOS now supports the Verifone MX915 signature capture terminal with a variety of point of sale solutions. While most new terminals in the market are EMV ready, CenPOS is EMV live with this Verifone multilane terminal.

To boost EMV adoption, MasterCard offers incentives beyond the EMV liability shift.  To participate, merchants must deploy hybrid EMV terminals (support of both contact and contactless interfaces), and 75% of card present transactions must be on them .(reference MasterCard white paper http://www.mastercardadvisors.com/_assets/pdf/emv_us_aquirers.pdf)

The Verifone can be used standalone with a computer, high speed internet and the CenPOS virtual terminal, or integrated with POS systems, including open source ERP retail POS solutions like OpenBravo. Merchants desiring integrated connectors should contact 3D Merchant services; the connectors are generally not available in POS add-on marketplaces.

Why CenPOS?

  • Processor neutral
  • Least cost routing and interchange optimization reduces merchant fees
  • Reduce PCI Compliance burden
  • One gateway for all sales channels
  • Tokenization supported all sales channels, even retail and mobile
  • Level III processing in retail – if you have commercial account customers, this will save a bundle in fees
  • Scalable: Enterprise user and role management
  • Cloud based reporting for centralized accounting
  • Merchant defined risk & fraud management tools