Chip & Pin for IFE in the spotlight as GuestLogix deal emerges

Thales and Panasonic are at least “three to five years away from providing Chip & Pin PCI-compliant seat-back screen solutions”. But even if their systems were complaint, passengers may be reticent to enter credit card info in such a highly public space (i.e. seated beside passengers).

That’s the jaw-dropping claim made to RWG today by Brett Proud, executive vice president of global sales and client support’ for GuestLogix, a firm that is best known for its point-of-sale (POS) handheld devices, but which will shortly announce a deal to provide the full back-end processing behind a major European carrier’s in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems.
 
The reason GuestLogix was selected by the airline? “Chip & Pin is important and the IFE provider couldn’t provide a solution,” says Proud.

So how will this work? Once a passenger completes his or her purchases via the IFE system, the passenger “goes into a virtual checkout lane”, says Proud, and the flight attendant sees what seat number is in the virtual checkout lane and can take the POS handheld to the passenger “and process Chip & Pin”.
 
From a pure transactional perspective, GuestLogix will serve as the merchant of record, taking the transactions through to the bank, paying the carrier post-authorization and settlement, and taking a percentage for itself. GuestLogix also assumes risk in this regard, such as for refunds, but it will provide a full, outsourced processing service for IFE, says Proud. The service will be rolled out in March.

Well alrighty then. It’s little wonder that APEX plans to discuss the topic of Chip & Pin at a future tech committee hearing.
 
I should note that Thales’ Stuart Dunleavy earlier this year told me that, for the firm’s next generation IFE system, “rather than a swipe we’re going with a credit card insert so that this takes into account Chip & Pin technology as well in the future, which we see as a very important emerging technology”.

We’ll have more from Brett later…

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