Read a Chip Card in Two Seconds with Augusta

Dear Readers,

At ID TECH, we’re excited about Faster EMV (aka Quick Chip) technology.

You should be, too!

In case you haven’t heard, Faster EMV (originally a Visa innovation called Quick Chip, but now officially blessed by all major card issuers) has the potential to turn a 20-second chip card transaction into a super-fast (2-second) “dip and go” scenario. It’s standard EMV, hard-wired for speed. And it’s easy to implement; we’ve done all the hard work for you.

We think it has the potential to change the outlook for EMV in the U.S.

But note well, this is not just about faster transactions (and the resulting better customer experience); it’s also about making EMV technology merchant-friendly, by letting chip-card readers interoperate with browser-based point-of-sale software, something that hasn’t been possible with chip-card readers until now.

Recall that in the U.S., we have a strange situation in which 80% of credit cards now have a chip, but less than a third of merchants have chip-capable readers that are turned on and functional. All of the largest retailers (and ATMs) can process chip-card transactions, but there are still literally millions of smaller (and midsize) merchants, in the U.S., who either can’t or won’t upgrade to a fully functional EMV reader. What many of these merchants are waiting for is an ultra-low-cost, EMV-certified, encryption-enabled chip-card reader that integrates easily with phone, tablet, or PC-based POS systems.

That’s exactly what the patent-pending Augusta with Quick Chip is (see photo).

For under $150, you have an encryption-enabled EMV L2 chip-card reader that can run a transaction in two seconds (or, alternatively, fall back to magstripe) while also outputting EMV data as a character stream, in “keyboard mode.” The latter is important, because “keyboard mode” character data is what many browser-based POS systems require; and yet, to date, no chip-card (EMV) reader, as far as we know, has been designed to operate in this mode (except for the patent-pending Augusta).

What it means for ISVs, payment-app developers, and POS-system integrators is that there is now, finally, an inexpensive EMV card reader that can be integrated into “virtual terminal” scenarios in literally a day or two, using JavaScript and browser technology (and driverless USB). Plug the Augusta in, intercept its character stream (TLVs come across the wire as “keyboard data”), do whatever preprocessing you want to do in JavaScript, send the resulting data off to your favorite gateway, acquirer, or back end; and you’re done. There’s no need to develop USB drivers, orchestrate complex I/O between devices, send raw firmware commands to the reader, or anything like that. Just slurp a character stream. It’s ASCII!

What it means for merchants is that a POS system with EMV capability doesn’t have to be a complex, expensive proposition. It simply means plugging an inexpensive, driverless card reader into the USB port of a tablet or PC, and loading a POS app on a web browser.

What it means for customers is that a chip-card transaction doesn’t have to be the insert-your-card, tap-your-foot, look-at-your-watch, stare-at-the-ceiling experience it so often tends to be at big-box retailers. It can be as simple as dipping your card and putting it away two seconds later while a receipt prints out.

In short: It’s a win-win-win for ISVs, merchants, and customers.


Augusta with Quick Chip: A Faster Way to Do EMV
A Chip-Card Reader that Outputs Text