Chip & PIN - An Introduction

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

For UK clients, the majority of box offices will use at least one chip & PIN machine for the purposes of taking card payments - without a chip & PIN machine you can only take ‘cardholder not present’ payments. The purpose of this article is to take a look at the basics of how chip & PIN machines work with Spektrix, and guide you through the different documentation that’s available on installing, using and troubleshooting chip & PIN machines.

How do chip & PIN machines work with Spektrix?

Chip & PIN machines (or pinpads), like ticket printers and cash drawers, connect to Spektrix via an application called the Box Office App which allows Spektrix to communicate with each hardware device. The Box Office App needs to be installed on each computer which you want to connect a chip & PIN machine to.

For more information on the Box Office App and how it works specifically, see this article.

Integrated payments

There’s an important distinction to make in terms of the pinpads that connect to Spektrix, in comparison with those that you see in a lot of shops, cafes and restaurants, and indeed that you might use elsewhere in your organisation.

Pinpads that connect to Spektrix allow you to make integrated payments, i.e. payments which are processed directly through Spektrix. When a payment is taken, Spektrix automatically adjusts to reflect this, and payment details (though not card details) are stored against the order in Spektrix.

In contrast, payment methods like cash, or any custom payment types you set up (cheque, BACS, invoice etc.) are not integrated, so require you to process the payment outside of Spektrix, then manually update the order to tell Spektrix that the payment has been made.

In practical terms , this means that you need to use specific pinpads with Spektrix, and won’t necessarily be able to use other pinpads that you might have previously used elsewhere in the organisation.

Which pinpads do you recommend?

The main pinpad which we recommend you use is the Verifone VX820, which integrates whether you’re using SagePay or YESPay as your Payment Service Provider (PSP). The VX820 is a fully featured pinpad, and is available to be purchased directly from Spektrix.


VX820s can take contactless payments, but only when used with SagePay - if you use YESPay as a PSP, contactless payments are currently not available.

Here’s where to go next…

This article is very much an introduction to chip & PIN machines and Spektrix, and we’ve got a whole range of articles designed to help you understand how they work in more detail, especially in terms of installation and troubleshooting.

We suggest that you work through these articles in order if you’re new to chip & PIN machines and Spektrix, or skip ahead to what’s most relevant to you if you’re looking for something in particular.


If you have any further questions about chip & PIN machines, or anything else, please do contact the Spektrix Support team who will be happy to help.

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