What You Need to Know About PIN on Glass

What You Need to Know About PIN on Glass
April 27, 2018 Ben Larcey
In Payment Processing

Would you feel confident entering your card’s PIN on someone’s phone?

Or even accepting a customer’s PIN on your own device?

You might not have the choice for much longer. PIN on Glass is a new way to take card payments on a mobile device. It does away with the familiar card machine keypad in favour of a mobile device’s touchscreen.

In this introductory guide, we’ll take a look at this new technology and how it will affect your business.

How It Works

With a traditional keypad device, consumers insert their cards into a slot then key a PIN number into the terminal to prove they authorised a transaction. The PIN on Glass technology removes the terminal and the keypad. It involves downloading an app on to your mobile device so that you can accept payments. For smaller amounts (imagine buying a cuppa from a coffee shop), a customer would be able to use something like contactless card payment technology to pay for a transaction. As the transaction amount gets larger (e.g. coffee and pastries for your entire team), the customer would need to enter their PIN on your device.

Also called PIN-on-Mobile (POM), the technology is geared towards smaller merchants — the ones that don’t have a few hundred payment card transactions each month. These retailers and service providers may not find value in purchasing a pricey POS system or leasing an expensive payment terminal. However, the technology also promises

New Security

One of the biggest advantages of PIN on Glass is that it adds an extra level of security. Chip and pin machines have long been the target of fraud. Scammers tamper with the card processing machines to send card information to hackers. These people then use the information to make fraudulent purchases or siphon small amounts from many accounts over time — and it’s not just small-time crooks getting involved. Crime syndicates are moving in on the action, even going so far as to manipulate card processing machines before they even leave the factory.

While one of the biggest obstacles to PIN on Glass is the inherent insecurity of smartphones — after all, they can be jailbroken or rooted — new technologies are helping users secure card PINs in a way that simply is not possible with a physical payment terminal. Payment alternative Square already received a green light from the PCI Security Standards Council, which is the result of efforts from the five largest credit card companies in the world, and other technologies are showing promise.

Take MYPINPAD for example. Its MYPINPAD PIN Entry Solution (MPES) “secures the card PIN at the point of entry using patented technology and sends it to the PCI approved Secure Card Reader (SCR) to be included in the authorisation message,” explains the company in a recent report. “The MPES back-office consistently monitors MPEA and the SCR for any environmental anomalies or signs of compromise.”

Consumer Perspective

Current usage for PIN on Glass is already significant. “PoM presents the most effective way to grow card acceptance globally,” says Philip King, Chairman and CEO of MYPINPAD. “Enabling more retailers to accept card and mobile payments drives transaction acceptance volumes for Acquirers and Card Schemes whilst ensuring an appropriate level of security is in place. Accepting card payments has never been easier or cheaper for merchants.”

MYPINPAD is estimating that roughly 20 percent of all retail transactions will be POM by 2021. Consumers in Asia have already embraced the alternative payment trend, and the popularity of new payment methods could be coming to Europe before you know it. Just look at contactless cards as an example of POM’s possibility. As of April 2017, contactless cards numbered 108.4 million in the U.K. — up more than 20 percent from the year before and growing. The average contactless transaction amount is less than £10 while the maximum charge amount is £30.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, one of the biggest points to PIN on Glass is that it feels natural. Physical keypads have been around since 1967, but the rise of smartphones and mobile devices has meant that touchscreen technology feels normal.

Also, many people may feel more secure paying with a card using PIN on Glass. Scammers have stolen hundreds of thousands of PINs since the technology debuted more than 50 years ago. PIN on Glass technology has not been hit in the same way.

Further, PIN on Glass presents some interesting possibilities for omnichannel — a method of marketing that blurs the line between the online and in-store shopping experience. Some retailers are already exploring more payment options than inserting a payment card at a POS terminal; PIN on Glass could be part of that. For instance, the technology could help users pay anywhere in the store. Augmented reality can take it even further, allowing customers to purchase items they view through their smartphones.


The way people shop is changing. They carry less cash, pay with their phones and make purchases in different channels. As time goes on, security concerns are pushing shoppers away from traditional payment methods while new technologies are enabling more immersive shopping experiences. Early adoption of PIN on Glass technology will help your company beat the curve and stay on trend.