ICT specialist Grintek Telecom, a Grintek Limited company, has developed a 'smart' power supply unit for point of sale (PoS) terminals, providing an integrated standard power supply, a GSM GPRS modem and lightning protection - all in one unit.

As the unit is GPRS based, it provides the merchant and customer with an 'always on' service which assists to reduce fraud with stolen credit or debit cards, eliminating the requirement to 'dial up' for authorisation, reducing risk to financial institutions and saving money for the merchants, as the time and cost to connect to the banks is drastically reduced.

All PoS terminals have to communicate with the financial host or bank to clear a transaction before the slip is printed for the customer to sign.  Traditionally, PSTN, dial-up x.25, GSM data and radio x.25 methods are used to dial up to the bank host, but they are expensive and slow.

Financial institutions download a daily 'hot card' file to their merchants' PoS terminals and as traditional communications systems do not include GSM technology, these files are usually downloaded at night.

This provides potential fraudsters with the opportunity to use fraudulent cards during this 'window period', provided the amount does not exceed the floor limit - the limit on a card before authorisation is required to process the transaction.

Providing GSM 'always on' connectivity means that the hot card file located at the bank host is used, which is automatically updated in real time, eliminating the risk of fraudulent transactions.

Says Roger Blain, business solutions executive at Grintek Telecom,"This functionality allows financial institutions to make substantial savings, since the merchant is not responsible for these types of fraudulent transactions.

Therefore, the return on investment for this seemingly simple piece of equipment is significant. Grintek Telecom is able to add value to its customers in the retail environment through the prevention of fraud with this product and through lowering costs incurred by the merchant."

The built-in lightning protection provides additional precautions against lightning, providing peace of mind, especially to Highveld retailers that experience many electrical storms in the summer season.

The solution also takes up less space and features only two cables connecting the power supply unit to the PoS terminal and one power cable.

Initially it was developed to work with Hypercom PoS terminals, but this has been extended to other manufacturers PoS equipment. The unit is currently undergoing certification by Hypercom.