Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Is it possible to reprogram US credit card terminal

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  • May 6th, 2011 12:49 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Jul 18, 2007
1 posts
Toronto

Is it possible to reprogram US credit card terminal

I heard about the costco elavon deal and is really interested in it. i know that they uses the Ingenico 5100 machine, my question is can i purchase one on ebay (in the US) and get it to work in canada? Now my concern is, is it really possible to reprogram the US machine? anyone with success?

thanks
5 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
7383 posts
634 upvotes
Toronto
Did you search this forum? Asked and answered! Plus Elavon seems to be hesitant to reprogram terminals now, plus with PIN becoming widespread in Canada, you'll probably need new equipment anyways.
Jr. Member
Mar 14, 2004
188 posts
Drew_W wrote:
Sep 11th, 2009 7:45 pm
Did you search this forum? Asked and answered! Plus Elavon seems to be hesitant to reprogram terminals now, plus with PIN becoming widespread in Canada, you'll probably need new equipment anyways.

I am interested in an answer to the OP's question. I have done a search but haven't found the thread referred to. Can someone please either answer the question, suggest keywords to search, or post a link to a thread does answer this question? Can a POS Terminal be re-programmed legally in Canada?
Member
User avatar
Apr 17, 2010
202 posts
45 upvotes
Toronto
If you purchase a terminal you can use it with certain merchant service providers, assuming you can find one willing to issue you a merchant account, but YOU have to figure out how to program it.

For example you get a merchant account with TD, Moneris, or CIBC. They can't help you program it. They don't know how.

The terminal will need to be programmed with a merchant number, terminal ID, host information, et cet. Tech support can provide their generic host phone number or IP addresses (that their own POS would use), but American POS are a bit more complex and have larger config menus, there could be 5-10 places to enter a host number and you can't just guess.


Not that you asked, but here are three reasons to avoid buying POS on Ebay:

1. The device may be stolen.

2. POS equipment can house either hardware, or software, that enables it to clone or skim card numbers and PINs. Unless you are a trained pro who takes POS apart for a living, you would never know it to look at a tampered device. I've seen hundreds of tampered devices that looked benign to the average person.

3. When that machine requires an upgrade, or breaks (and upgrades ARE required based on decisions by the card associations in Canada), you'll need to purchase a new one.

For example, Visa declares that all Visa transactions must send data in XYW format.
In order to send data that particular way, the terminal software must be upgraded.
All merchants who process Visa must be compliant by 2017.

It will take a while, but your merchant service company will go through their portfolio, and identify who has an in-house terminal, which they will swap. They will also identify those who have a 3rd party terminal, like you, and you are responsible to find a compliant version and get it installed by the deadline, or your account is closed, or Visa is disabled from your machine.

Visa, Mastercard, and sometimes Interac make some policy changes in tandem, so if you think by ignoring their mandate you will "stick it to Visa" you are only screwing yourself when MC and Interac demand the same compliance. Nobody wants to be the card association that is not perceived to take security seriously.


Sometimes merchants are either blissfully ignorant, or naive, and buy a terminal because they think that paying monthly rental fees is stupid when they could purchase the device for a one-time fee.

They fail to consider what happens when that new POS they just purchased is a card skimmer. They fail to consider what happens when THEY are 100% responsible for the theft of card holder data, which is a rather big deal. There are huge financial and legal repercussions, and your reputation is toast.

This information is based on my personal observations of about 12 years in the merchant processing industry. I no longer work in that industry, and have no personal agenda, other than to share information to help you avoid the mistakes I saw Canadian business owners make.
Sr. Member
Oct 8, 2008
720 posts
68 upvotes
A US terminal will unlikely support EMV (chip transactions), even if the chip reader is present - the software support will not be there. Liability shift has already happened so if you do not use a chip terminal and a fraudulent card is used in your terminal, you will be on the hook for it.

US model terminals/PIN pads will not support Interac
Member
Apr 6, 2010
493 posts
54 upvotes
Toronto
hushuschu wrote:
Sep 2nd, 2009 12:21 am
I heard about the costco elavon deal and is really interested in it. i know that they uses the Ingenico 5100 machine, my question is can i purchase one on ebay (in the US) and get it to work in canada? Now my concern is, is it really possible to reprogram the US machine? anyone with success?

thanks

The provider I represent deals with Elavon. We have tried a couple of times to reprogram an Ingenico 5100. (It only requires a phone/internet download). Merchant has to buy the pinpad for it. In both situations programming has failed. You need to be aware of the chances you take. I also agree with those telling you that it's a bit risky - you have no idea where the terminal is coming from and there are no guarantees.

Please send me a private message if you need anything else.

Cristian.

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