Walmart’s PIN Pads Are Hard To Use, Say Advocates For The Handicapped. They’re Not The Only Ones Who Think So

Written by Frank Hayes
July 25th, 2012

Walmart was sued on Wednesday (July 25) by a California advocacy group for the disabled, who complained that the retail giant isn’t meeting federal or state laws because its PIN pads are too high for customers in wheelchairs to use. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said Walmart has wheelchair-accessible PIN pads in some of its 200-plus California stores but hasn’t deployed them for the rest of its checkout lanes, forcing some customers to “stretch and strain”—or tell the cashier their PINs.

It’s not clear exactly what the solution would be—two PIN pads at each checkout lane? A swinging arm or mini-elevator that brings the PIN pad up from wheelchair height to a level where a six-foot-four customer can use it without a backache? But realistically, there’s a bigger problem: Most PIN pads are designed to be compact and secure, not easy to use for anyone. They’re hard to read, hard to use and miserable to sign for all customers, not just the wheelchair- and scooter-bound. If this lawsuit can force Walmart to find and deploy a truly usable PIN pad, it could actually make all its customers happier—wheeled and non-wheeled alike.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.