Etsy is jumping on the card reader bandwagon.
“We’ve worked hard at Etsy to develop a leading online marketplace for buying and selling unique goods. However, 90% of all retail purchases are still made offline,” the company said in a blog post today.
In order to bridge the gap between its sellers’ online and offline stores, the company has developed some cheap hardware. But Etsy is incredibly late to the game. Square launched the cheap card reader four years ago, and since then PayPal, Amazon, and others have followed.
But a year from now these dinky card readers won’t be relevant, because sellers will have to shell out for EMV card readers or else take responsibility for fraudulent charges. The payment networks are planning to shift liability for false charges made on traditional swipe cards to merchants in 2015 if they don’t upgrade to the new chip technology.
While card swipes are fairly easy and inexpensive to produce, EMV readers are not. This will definitely put an immediate strain on small retail merchants, like the kind that Etsy caters to. Instead of replicating a product that a slew of other e-commerce platforms offer, the company would be wise to come up with an EMV solution or else partner with someone who has.