This article appears in the April 16, 209, edition of ISO&Agent Weekly.

Mercury Payment Systems, a Durango, Colo.-based ISO, says the point-of-sale terminal-update service from Hypercom Corp. is helping to reduce the time needed to update payment-terminal security.

The service, which sends encryption information to a terminal via its Internet or dial-up connection, takes about 24 hours to complete compared with the days it otherwise would take to ship and set up new hardware at a merchant location, says Wendy Graham, a Mercury Payment spokesperson. Mercury Payment sells its card-processing services via POS software developers and resellers.

Electronic Payment Systems LLC, an Englewood, Colo.-based merchant-services company, also is using the HyperSafe Remote Key System service, which works with Hypercom's Optimum T4210 and T4220 devices, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Hypercom says.

This service is called "remote key injection" because the encryption software, which acts as a key to unlock a terminal's capability to work a certain way, can be sent to the terminal without it locked away in a secure room at the ISO or processor.

Encryption adheres to the triple data encryption standard.

Merchants also benefit from not having to buy multiple hardware devices or find a place for more than one device on a countertop, Graham says.

The service also can reconfigure these terminals to work on Mercury Payment's system even though they may be programmed to work with a competitor, she says. That eliminates the need to send the newly signed merchant a compatible terminal.
The process is fairly simple, Graham says. Mercury Payment sends the terminal's serial number to Hypercom, which prepares the software specifically for that device.
Once Mercury Payment receives confirmation the software is ready, the new encryption software is loaded into the terminal, which can happen at Mercury
Payment's offices or at the merchant's location.

The process is not too dissimilar from routine programming of a terminal to accept cards, Graham says.

Other terminal manufacturers have plans for this type of service.

VeriFone Holdings Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based terminal maker, says it is working on a similar service that should be available this summer for its Vx product line. The company already provides this service in the petroleum market, says a VeriFone spokesperson.

France-based Ingenico S.A. plans to launch a similar remote-management service in North America this year. The remote encryption service is part of a managed-services program the company expects to launch this year, an Ingenico spokesperson says. Initial availability of the remote key service should happen in the third quarter, the spokesperson says, with widespread availability by the fourth quarter.

Mercury Payment is sold on the service, Graham says. The quick turnaround to update the terminal means the merchant is processing via Mercury Payment's service sooner than it otherwise would have, she says.

"In addition to the time savings, it's a pretty big cost savings" for the merchant, Graham says. "They don't have to buy an additional piece of equipment."

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