5 Crucial Insights On Semi-Integrated Payments Architecture

Brick-and-mortar stores and multi-channel retail outlets are constantly striving to enhance customer experience. Checkout and payment experience is the most important consideration. Businesses must walk the tightrope between facilitating breezy checkouts and ensuring PCI DSS compliance and EMV certification. Particularly for an EMV payment, ensuring that the cardholder data is not entered into the merchant’s system is necessary. It should be directly transmitted to the POS terminal. The onus of PCI DSS compliance and EMV certification will remain with the payment solutions provider alone.

Most enterprises opt for semi-integrated payments to avoid unnecessary legal hassles and regulatory compliances. 

Here are five meaningful insights into the network architecture of semi-integrated solutions:

  1. PCI DSS Scope Reduction:For an online payment gateway or a physical POS terminal, merchants should refrain from storing or transmitting sensitive customer card data in their business network. Robust semi-integrated payment architecture warrants that the cardholder data is restricted to the POS terminal. Point-to-point encryption is used for relaying payment confirmation back to the merchant network, eliminating data vulnerability, reducing the PCI-DSS scope and keeping the business liability-free in case of any security breach.
  2. Cloud Terminal as Opposed to Middleware:The concept of middleware (software drivers) connecting the payment terminal with the merchant network is quickly losing prominence. It could also lead to potential security loopholes and unnecessary hassles in the event of payment/data fraud. Cloud-connected terminals are far more efficient, glitch-free and ensure watertight payment security. New-age retailers must keep pace with changing technology and avoid using middleware for semi-integrated POS systems.
  3. Avoiding EMV Certification:EMV payments are subjected to high scrutiny and compliance regulations worldwide. A business cannot refuse to accept an EMV payment. They can be smart about installing a semi-integrated payment processor from a reputed EMV-certified payment solutions vendor. Entrepreneurs having been granted EMV certification should be aware that any changes in the POS hardware or software will imply that they will have to re-apply for the certification.
  4. POS System Versatility:Any business collaborating with a POS vendor to invest in semi-integrated POS systems must heed the versatility quotient. It is best to opt for a system with multi-device and omni-channel capabilities. There will be no connectivity hassles if there is any hardware overhaul or payments to be collected outside the store (at trade fairs or RWA events).
  5. Future-Proof Payments Architecture:Start-ups vying for a semi-integrated payment solutions collaboration must envision their long-term requirements. Future-proofing the payment infrastructure in terms of scalability, seamless connectivity, and syncing with a wide range of hardware/software variants will ensure unhindered payments in the foreseeable years.


Start-ups and SMEs cannot afford to divert their time and resources toward PCI DSS compliance and EMV certification. These are tedious processes, best handled by seasoned payment solution providers. At the same time, non-integrated payment systems are often inefficient, with a high probability of manual errors, fully integrated solutions burden merchants with the onus of data encryption and security.

Hence, a well-built, semi-integrated payment network is the most practical option for modern-day retailers.

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