Stores Switching to iPod touch for Check-Out

November 5, 2009

The Apple stores will soon dump their current Windows-based portable computers and begin using customized iPod touch devices to wirelessly process customer credit and debit cards and, for the first time, to allow all employees to accept cash for purchases. According to information reviewed by IFO, Apple has designed and manufactured a slip-on plastic shell for the touch that combines a magnetic stripe reader and advanced barcode reader. The EasyPay touch will run Apple-developed point-of-sale software that is specific to Apple stores, including special screens to make iPhone purchases easier and quicker. The new system will allow credit card purchases to be made directly on the touch, but debit card transactions will require customers to enter their PIN on the existing desktop POS terminals. Employees equipped with a touch will be able to accept cash through an electronic link-up to cash drawers installed within the store. More details on the new EasyPay touch system and photos are posted on the AppleInsider Web site.

This terminal is being used to complete Apple store transactions made via a debit card. The new iPod touch device doesn't include entering debit card PIN codes, so this terminal is used instead. There are one or two of these terminals in a typical mall-located store.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mumbo Jumbo November 5, 2009 at 0249

” The new system will allow credit card purchases to be made directly on the touch, but debit card transactions will require customers to enter their PIN on the existing desktop POS terminals.” this makes NO sense as there are no “POS terminals” that still exist in stores. Isn’t that the point of EP?


tom November 5, 2009 at 0523

I’m not sure how it has worked in the U.S., but there have been separate POS terminals for just debit in Canada since they started using the old handheld terminals 2 or 3 years ago. I think credit cards and cash can be used at those terminals as well, but I am not sure. Then again, non-visa/mastercard debit cards (pin only) are much more ubiquitous in Canada than in the U.S. In fact, I am from the U.S., but have been living in Canada for over 5 years and I have never seen a Canadian issued debit card with any kind of credit card symbol on it. They may exist but I have never seen one. I have visa and mastercard debit cards, but they are all issued through U.S. banks.


Reilly November 5, 2009 at 0714

Mumbo, most stores have at least one dedicated POS station (for cash/check primarily), plus a few Genius Bar machines typically can act as a POS station if needed.

My store added a credit card/debit card terminal (not an entire POS station) about in the middle of the store, off to one side, next to a few of the demo computers so customers can enter their PIN for the upcoming iPod touch system.


Marktrek November 6, 2009 at 0514

So can the new system also act as check-in for reservations, such as the Genius Bar?


Ex-Creative November 7, 2009 at 0436

They already use iPod Touches to check people in for Genius Bar and One to One appointments, in the UK at least.


bdufeau November 8, 2009 at 2047

if these ipod touches work similarly to the way the old easy pays did, then they WILL accept debit cards, but only run through as credit, with the US-style debit/credit-linked cards most US banks issue.

So, if you swipe a bank visa card on a machine, it will work like a credit card. if you really want debit, you have to use the POS. this is really only beneficial to apple as for retailers debit=direct cash, and no credit card fees.

my advice, swipe away with the bank card. you should be fine. this is nothing new.


David H Dennis December 2, 2009 at 1737

I bought the new quad-core 27″ iMac from the Apple Store on Black Friday, and they used the new system. It looked really slick. Both times i was there, the folks remarked on how relieved they were to lose the old Windows-based system.

I paid for the iMac with my debit card + cash, and the iPod Touch-based system handled the whole thing, including asking for my PIN. So the report that it won’t handle debit cards or PINs appears to be inaccurate.

Oddly enough, when I went back to buy an adapter for my ancient external monitor, I had to stand in the cash line to pay cash, so I guess they have different rules for different transactions.

I’m delighted with my new machine – it’s incredibly fast and the screen is wonderful! And it was amazing how hassle-free the purchase was – it was easier and faster to buy the $2,000+ iMac than it was to go to Ritz camera and get a $20 Compact Flash card!



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