Global payment technology company First Data announced on Monday that it has launched what it describes as the “first fully integrated Bluetooth payment card reader.” With its very own contactless reader, the Clover point-of-sale system will now have a single device from which participating merchants can accept payments through card swipes, EMV, and NFC transactions — including Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.
It’s also no coincidence that First Data launched the device just as Apple began accepting preorders for the iPhone 7, as the latest iOS device doesn’t have a headphone jack, and merchants are worried about how they’ll accept payments.
With First Data’s contactless reader, customers can tap their smartphone, swipe their debit or credit card, or dip their chip card into the device and be on their way.
Additional benefits that are being touted include support for Clover’s terminal plan — merchants enrolled in this offering can bundle the contactless reader into their system without needing a new merchant IT or upgrading, in-app troubleshooting and device diagnostics, ability to manage inventory items displayed in-app with its “show-in register” feature, access to web-based apps through the Clover app market, and more.
The device — built off First Data’s Clover Go product introduced in January — features user rights management and can work in multiple locations.
This may be the company’s first contactless reader, but it’s certainly not alone in the market, as Square rolled its reader out in November. With more momentum swinging toward mobile payment offerings, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, merchants without scalable solutions will feel like they’re behind the curve and risk possibly losing a sale.
That said, First Data believes it has a leg up on the competition in the contactless card reader space because its device is able to accept all forms of card transactions, while others, like Square’s, can only process EMV and NFC payments. In this case, “a business owner has to switch over to their other reader to accept a mag stripe transaction,” a First Data spokesperson explained to VentureBeat.
This reader is the latest development to come out of Clover since First Data acquired the payment startup in 2013 with the intention of moving into the point-of-sale business. Clover had previously launched a system dedicated to accepting NFC-based payments, called Clover Mini. The company’s new contactless reader is an evolution of that technology and makes it easy for customers of First Data’s 6 million merchants to pay for goods and be on their way.