Ingenico continues to pursue U.S. market share to capitalize on the breakup of rival payment-terminal maker Hypercom Corp. last year, and wireless terminals are a key part of that strategy. 

Most of the focus in mobile-payment acceptance lately has been on devices, such as the one from Square Inc., that rely on smartphones to connect to a wireless data network. Ingenico's iWL255 device has its own data connection with AT&T, and the French terminal maker claims this is the first purpose-built wireless terminal that connects directly to the carrier's 3G network.

"There is still a market, and still a decent-size market, for purpose-built wireless devices," Gregory Boardman, Ingenico's North America senior vice president for product and development, said in an interview. "Merchants are attracted to this (terminal) and are going to like the added battery life for devices built for payments, and a receipt printer for speed and convenience."

Most U.S. wireless terminals rely on slower data connections, but "the implications are that the 2G network in the not-too-distant future will not be available for devices of this kind," Boardman says.

Ingenico is just now introducing the terminal to North America after having already offered it in other countries, including Canada. Independent sales organizations and other resellers will be the chief distributors, Boardman says, declining to disclose Ingenico's pricing for the devices.

Built on Ingenico's Telium2 architecture, the iWL255 terminal is small and lightweight, not much different from a smartphone, Boardman says.

The device is capable of accepting all forms of electronic payment, including contact or contactless magnetic stripe, contact or contactless EMV chip, and Near Field Communication mobile-wallet transactions.

Merchants will be using purpose-built wireless terminals "for a long time," says Gil B. Luria, senior vice president at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities LLC.

Such devices are "still the main way payment networks will certify transactions as card-present transactions because of the added security the payment terminals provide, and it coincides with some of the new payment tools, especially NFC," he says.

The wireless iWL255 terminal has received Payment Terminal Security 2 and 3 certifications through a lab endorsed to do Payment Card Industry data security standards compliance testing, Boardman says.

As wireless providers' faster 4G data technology gains momentum, the terminal makers will have to respond to those conditions as well, Luria says.

"Ingenico has fresh products it's bringing to the U.S., and it has been increasing its presence here," he says.

Ingenico has benefited from the spin-off of Hypercom's U.S. business, he says. VeriFone Systems Inc. was forced to sell that business when it acquired Hypercom last year. VeriFone completed the purchase 13 months ago, at which time it sold Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Hypercom's U.S. properties to private equity firm Gores Group LLC. 

Gores later rebranded Hypercom's U.S. operations as Equinox Payments LLC. 

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