08/05/2014

Used Credit Card Devices? Bad Idea

Used Credit Card Devices? Bad Idea

Buying secondhand (used) credit card PIN pad devices as a way to save money could come with a lot of headaches and limitations – and not nearly the cost savings you might expect.
Shift4 is all about helping our merchant customers save money and avoid additional fees when it comes to credit card processing. We help you identify and avoid the most common downgrades and fines, we empower you to negotiate for better rates with your MSP, and we pick up the tab for your communications costs. These are all great ways to save money without sacrificing necessary services or functionality. Used devices, on the other hand … not so great.

Here are a few of the reasons why:

The information that needs to be loaded onto these devices is very specific and can be complex. At least one – and often two – proprietary encryption keys need to be installed by certified vendors.

First, in order to process debit transactions, an encryption key needs to be loaded onto your device through a process we call “injection.” This key changes depending on several variables and is unique to your merchant services provider (MSP). Buying a debit device that has someone else’s debit key on it means you’ll have to send that device to a certified rekeying facility for reinjection.

Second, with most of our merchants moving toward devices that support point-to-point encryption (P2PE), an entirely separate encryption key is required to work with our P2PE solution. This is true whether you’re using a debit device or not.

Finding a device that has both of these keys already injected on it – well, let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen. So your only option would be to get your secondhand device rekeyed by mailing it to an injection facility that is certified by both your MSP and by Shift4 (or taking the time to send it to two different places for each to inject their own key). Obviously, this would take significant time and, typically, the costs savings at the end of the process would be negligible. For most of you, it’s going to be faster, easier, and not much more expensive to just order the product brand new from one of our authorized distributors.

In addition to encryption keys, Shift4 has a specific set of forms that must be loaded onto PIN pad devices in order for them to function properly. You also have to consider the platform (operating system) that the device is running and the software build version that is currently installed. Are those versions supported by Shift4? Even our most simple P2PE swipe devices – the ones with no screens and no buttons – require a specialized set of keys that are programmed directly to the internal chip by the manufacturer.

As you can see, this is not the place to go it alone to try and save a few pennies. Our authorized distributors can help you get the right products, running the right software, injected with the proper keys, and can save you from days of frustration.

The distributor you should contact will vary depending on the devices you want to use as well as the number of locations you plan to install. As you work closely with the Shift4 account setup team (or with MyAccount if you’re already a customer), we will help you to determine which vendor is best for you and provide you with the specific product number and SKU you will need to order the device(s) you need with the correct keys injected.

For your reference, a full list of devices supported by Shift4 can be found on our website.

And while we’re on the subject of new devices, be sure to properly dispose of your old ones when you upgrade. Not having your merchant data wiped from the devices before selling or disposing of them, could leave you open to fraud.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact support@shift4.com, or call us a 702.597.2480, option 2.