CYBECOM Pty Ltd - Ecommerce Architects - Web Developers - Brisbane

Retailers Beware of Purchasing Mobile Magnetic Stripe Only Readers

Magnetic Stripe on Business Card

Magnetic Stripe on Business Card

As they increase security with ecommerce, National Australia Bank (NAB) has withdrawn support for any portable magnetic stripe only reader device that connects to mobile phones, iPhones, iPads and other portable devices.

Visa International, MasterCard International and NAB agree that these magnetic stripe readers do not align with the significant industry investment in Europay Mastercard and Visa (EMV) security for Visa and Mastercard products, and card acceptance devices in the Australian market. Therefore MasterCard, Visa and NAB have agreed that all support for these magnetic stripe readers is to be withdrawn immediately.1

Just to be clear, they are only talking about magnetic stripe only readers. My understanding is that if your add-on device is able to read chips, it will be fine although, given that chips cards are almost common place, it is easy to see that magnetic stripe readers will quickly become obsolete. The simple moral here is to consider the longevity of any such device before investing your dollars. And their new policy does not affect merchants who manually enter in card numbers as the issue of card swiping is irrelevant.

Back in July, 2012, the Commonwealth Bank announced its new point-of-sale (POS) payments system. As part of this, they have developed what they call the CommBank Pi software platform built on industry-standard technologies. This platform enables application developers to develop apps and distribute them through CommBank Pi’s AppBank to merchants. They said that both of these technologies run on CommBank Albert, an omni-commerce device featuring an interactive touchscreen experience, Android based platform, secure EMV pin interface, printer, and merchant terminal functionality. They also discussed CommBank Leo.

CommBank Leo attaches to Apple iPod Touch or iPhone4 and iPhone4S devices to enable Pi to transform them into a fully functioning merchant terminal and move beyond unsecure card reader alternatives. Both Leo and Albert represent the future of merchant terminals and open a new innovation ecosystem to developers and businesses alike. 2

If other banks and leading financial institutions follow NAB’s lead, there will be a big shake-up in the vendor marketplace given that a quick Internet search reveals many selling magnetic stripe only readers so BEWARE! And given the likes of Commonwealth Bank are leading the way with more innovative technologies, the writing is definitely on the wall.


Michelle Jansen

Michelle Jansen

This article has been written by Michelle Jansen, Principal Ecommerce Consultant for CYBECOM. Michelle holds the qualifications of BAppSci (Maths & Computing), PostGradDip Business (Ecommerce) and GradDipEd (Middle Years). She has been consulting in Ecommerce since 1999 and has performed work for clients in all areas of business including SMEs and Corporates as well as State and Local Government.

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