Waterloo firm aims to enhance debit card readers

RDM Corp.’s Synergy II is much more than a debit card reader.

The device, which can connect retailers to banks either through a modem or Ethernet network, is also designed to read both sides of a cheque. Though Waterloo, Ont.-based RDM is currently targeting American companies, the vendor is also expecting to sell it in Canada in the future, said Karin McNabb, RDM’s assistant vice-president for hardware product management. The RDM Synergy II has a numeric key pad with a small screen and four programmable keys.

“We’ve kept the screen very, very simple, and the buttons and key very simple, because your lowest common denominator is a clerk at a counter,” McNabb said. “It has to be easy.”

The Synergy II includes franking acknowledgement, a technology designed to deface cheques so employees will know they have been read. The device also runs on Linux, and functions much like a miniature PC.

“Because it’s truly multi application, it means the same way that your PC has several different applications on the desktop, the Synergy unit can have a multitude of different applications independent from one another,” McNabb said.

She added retail merchants can share one device among independent operations.

“Individual merchants can reside on the same unit. So for instance, a salon, where you have independent owner entities, they could all utilize the synergy II for their financial banking relationships (and) be completely independent business entities, yet still function out of the same unit.”

It also has both a Ethernet and modem ports, so if a service provider’s connection goes down, the store can use the modem to dial into the bank.

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