Businesses that accept debit cards but don’t have a PIN pad for customers to enter PINs may soon have a way around it: PIN on glass. The technology would allow for secure PIN entry on consumer mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of PIN on glass and what you need to know if you’re considering using for PIN debit card acceptance at your business.
- What is PIN on glass?
- Pros and Cons
- Saving Money with PIN Debit
- Who is PIN on glass good for?
- Alternatives to PIN on Glass
What is PIN on glass?
It’s basically what it sounds like – a way for customers to enter their PINs on a screen (such as your tablet or smartphone screen) as opposed to using a dedicated PIN pad. PIN on glass makes it possible for your business to take advantage of the added security and possible lower costs of PIN debit transactions.
It’s designed to work with commercially available “off the shelf” consumer electronics, such as standard smartphones and tablets. However, PIN on glass is still subject to security requirements, which include PIN-specific PCI compliance.
Pros and Cons
There are more pros for PIN on glass than cons, but a few cons do exist.
In the “pros” column, PIN on glass allows businesses to accept PIN debit cards without any additional PIN entry equipment. A consumer can enter their PIN directly on the business’ smartphone or tablet screen.
Authorizing debit cards with PINs is more secure and often costs less than accepting debit cards without PINs. (However, there are exceptions. Be sure to check out our article, “Which is Cheaper: Pin Debit or Signature Debit?” for more info.
The primary “con” is subjective – some customers may not feel comfortable entering their PIN into any smartphone/tablet. However, if you run into that situation, you could simply run the card “as credit” to bypass PIN entry requirements.
Who is PIN on glass good for?
Primarily, PIN on glass will appeal to businesses that accept payments on the go (using a smartphone reader or mobile app) or those that use a tablet-based POS system. While there are smartphone readers that offer PIN entry (such as this reader available for PayPal Here), smartphone and tablet card acceptance methods are the least likely to have an option for PIN entry with current devices.
When customers use a debit card and don’t have the option to enter a PIN, the transaction is authorized by signature and may be more expensive for a business to accept.
PIN on glass offers the ability to allow customers to enter their PIN directly on the screen of the smartphone or tablet rather than requiring a separate device.
Remember, though, that PINs in the US are typically used for debit cards, not credit cards. As of 2018, most US credit cards don’t have PINs for purchases. If you take a lot of debit cards at your business and don’t have a PIN entry device, PIN on glass could be a good option for you.
Saving Money with PIN Debit
One thing to note is that PIN on glass by itself may not help you save money on your processing fees. If you use a flat rate service, you will not see cost reduction on your rate by accepting PINs. (Instead, the flat rate processor will receive more profit.)
Additionally, for some businesses, signature debit is actually lower cost than PIN debit. As a rough rule of thumb, PIN debit is cheaper for businesses with larger average transactions. Signature debit is cheaper if you process smaller average transactions.
If you process mostly larger transactions and could benefit from PIN debit fees instead of signature debit fees, you’ll need to work with an interchange plus processor in order to see the savings from accepting PIN debit transactions.
You can see actual pricing for your business by using a free quote comparison tool, available here.
Alternatives to PIN on Glass
If you (or your customers) aren’t comfortable with entering PINs on your smartphone or tablet, you have other options. You could skip the smartphone or tablet entirely and look into a wireless credit card machine, which allows for portability. Wireless machines are more expensive than smartphone/tablet card readers, but can project a professional image.
You can also connect a dedicated PIN pad to some tablet-based POS systems, allowing customers to enter their PIN that way. PIN pads are smaller and less expensive than full countertop terminals.
If using a smartphone or tablet on the go is a must, there are some companies that offer PIN-capable readers. The Anywhere Commerce Nomad reader series includes an integrated PIN pad and connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Ingenico and PayPal Here also offer PIN-capable readers designed for use with mobile devices.
Get the full details on EMV card acceptance in our article on taking chip cards with mobile devices.