Adyen is launching a portable card reader that accepts both mag-stripe and EMV chip-card payments — the latter a feature that’s still rare in the U.S. even at hard-wired point of sale terminals.
Shuttle, as it’s calling the system, launches today in London, Berlin and Amsterdam – European cities that have already adopted the more secure EMV chip cards. While the European market is a healthy place to roll out an EMV product, Peter Caparso, president of Adyen North America, says the company would offer its reader in the U.S. once EMV standard is more widely adopted.
Adyen’s approach echoes that of VeriFone Systems, which last month added EMV acceptance to its Sail mobile card reader. Though Sail is available to merchants in the U.S., VeriFone says it added EMV for its international customers, as the U.S. still lags in its adoption of the secure EMV chip-card standard.
Adyen says it prides itself on finding the correct localized payment methods around the world to make its merchants’ international transactions simple, easy and low-cost. It says its new portable POS system allows merchants to save space on their counters and prep for future technologies.
EMV cards, which improve security over magnetic-stripe cards, are also called chip-and-PIN because they are typically paired with a PIN for further security. The card networks have set incentives for most U.S. merchants to accept EMV cards by October, 2015, but most U.S. merchants do not appear to be racing to meet this goal.
“Will the EMV standard actually sweep across North America?” says Alex Kwiatkowski, research manager at IDC Financial Insights. “Every year that goes by there doesn’t seem like much momentum has been built up.”
A strong motivating force needs to get behind EMV, he says, but he continues to see the U.S. market pushing only mobile payments.
A large retailer such as Wal-Mart needs to push for EMV acceptance, or a card network needs to ramp up its aggressiveness for the EMV standard to take off in the U.S., Caparso says.
The slow adoption of EMV is “because we’re Americans,” Caparso says. “We’re creatures of habit and loathe change and I don’t see it happening until someone takes you by the nose and forces you to do it.”
He uses Verified by Visa and MasterCard’s SecureCode as an example of consumer’s resistance to change.
These systems are optional services that prompt consumers for a password during every online transaction. It’s not an ubiquitous system, and Visa recently launched a new service designed to augment Verified by Visa by requiring extra authentication only selectively.
Caparso says he wouldn’t be surprised if the 2015 deadline for EMV acceptance is postponed.
Merchants are reluctant to replace hardware and consumers don’t see the benefit in it, he says.
Adyen is wise to build Shuttle with both EMV and magstripe capabilities, which would prove useful for European merchants working with U.S. tourists, says Kwaitkowski.
This sentiment reverberates from Franks Jonker, CEO of Ticketscript, a European online ticketing service, as well. Ticketscript is an Adyen client.
“We want to enable everyone anywhere to make a payment,” Jonker says. Merchants in Europe “wouldn’t want to limit themselves to only Europeans.”
Ticketscript wants to be available to tourists buying tickets to clubs and events, plus plans expansion to box office sales.
While “the EMV method is more technologically advanced, why would you want to cut off a major market economy?” Kwiatkowski says. Adyen “is bringing something that potentially has a transformative effect in-store.”