Af­ter EMV, a New Ap­proach

Table­safe’s tim­ing worked against it when it de­signed a magstripe prod­uct ahead of the EMV shift. Nev­er­the­less, the sit­u­a­tion helped the com­pany pre­pare for the next wave of pay­ments tech­nol­ogy.

ISO & Agent - - ACQUIRING MOBILE POINT OF SALE - BY DAVID HEUN

It’s been nearly six years in the mak­ing, but Table­safe has the EMV cer­ti­fi­ca­tion it has long needed to make its pay- at- thetable Rail plat­form a fu­ture-proof op­tion for restau­rants. Seat­tle-based Table­safe was pre­pared to launch the Rail five years ago un­der the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous name Vi­able­ware, as a de­vice housed in a patented bill­fold that repli­cates the tra­di­tional leather book­let used at restau­rants to de­liver a guest’s check be­fore wait staff takes the pay­ment card back to a point of sale ter­mi­nal.

At the time, the premise was fairly sim­ple. Af­ter a year of de­vel­op­ing the tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate some ef­fi­ciency for restaurant op­er­a­tions, Table­safe felt it had a prod­uct late in 2012 that also would elim­i­nate the diner’s fear of card skim­ming when the card left the ta­ble for pay­ment.

“Then the card com­pa­nies re­vealed they were com­ing out with EMV (chip cards), and sud­denly this new prod­uct we were releasing was obsolete,” said Steve Mck­ean, pres­i­dent of Table­safe. “We had no choice but not to re­lease the prod­uct at that time.”

In hind­sight, the tim­ing couldn’t have been bet­ter, Mck­ean said. Had Table­safe al­ready launched its prod­uct and had a large cus­tomer base us­ing it, the time and ef­fort to up­grade to EMV could have been dev­as­tat­ing for the com­pany.

“We went down the path to EMV, but also learned along the way that it just couldn’t be EMV now ei­ther,” Mck­ean said. “There were other pay­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties com­ing to mar­ket and we had to un­der­stand how to en­gage with mo­bile pay­ments and con­tact­less cards.”

The com­pany be­gan talk­ing about the new ca­pa­bil­i­ties of what it was call­ing Rail 2 five months ago in prepa­ra­tion for its launch an­nounce­ment this week.

The re­sult now is that Table­safe’s Rail plat­form is cer­ti­fied through the Cred­it­call om­nichan­nel gate­way for EMV and sig­na­ture, and also in­cludes a Near Field Com­mu­ni­ca­tion chip for mo­bile and con­tact­less pay­ments, a cam­era to read QR codes, and Blue­tooth to help restaurant own­ers rec­og­nize cus­tomers at the time they are din­ing. Pay­ments and EMV tech­nol­ogy provider Cardtek is also part­ner­ing with Table­safe for the Rail launch.

Rail 2’s prox­im­ity tech­nol­ogy al­lows lo­ca­tion-based mes­sages and mar­ket­ing, a prom­ise of the orig­i­nal Rail con­cept — that the plat­form would help restaurant own­ers mine, man­age and mon­e­tize cus­tomer data.

“We re­ally had to po­si­tion this as an ef­fec­tive plat­form for the fu­ture and one that restau­rants could grow with over time,” Mck­ean added.

Po­ten­tial clients and in­vestors have been pa­tient in wait­ing for Table­safe to de­but its lat­est ver­sion of Rail.

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