Verifone Card Reader: Features, Costs, and Merchant Reviews

Verifone Card Reader: Features, Costs, and Merchant Reviews

As the global digital payments industry continues to grow, American consumers are taking a bigger slice of the pie. A recent report estimates credit card transaction volumes in 2022 to have reached $3.089 trillion. Card issuers also began offering more flexible payment options and rewards cards.

Retail stores, small eateries, and mobile businesses may choose a card reader to process their card transactions. Card readers handle customers’ sales without the expense or space requirements of a POS system. Here’s a look at the Verifone card reader VX520’s features, costs, and pros and cons before you make a purchase decision.

Verifone Card Reader_Us Card Transaction Volumes_Infographic

How a Credit Card Reader Works

An increasing number of retail store customers want to make a digital payment instead of handing over cash. Shoppers typically swipe, dip, or tap their major credit card or debit card. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are the four most frequently used cards. Most payment systems also include contactless payment capabilities.

Some retail stores have a full-featured point-of-sale system (or POS system). However, other brick-and-mortar stores use a countertop credit card reader. This compact device easily performs card payment functions.

Here’s how a card reader works:

  1. The card reader retrieves the customer’s card information.
  2. The card reader transmits the data to the payment processor.
  3. The card reader learns whether the customer has sufficient funds for the purchase.
  4. If the answer is “yes,” the transaction is approved.
  5. If the answer is “no,” the customer is asked for another form of payment.

Verifone VX520 Card Reader Features

The Verifone card reader VX520 has become an often-used payment solution. Here’s a snapshot of this all-in-one device’s features.

Accepted payment types

  • Magstripe credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover)
  • Debit card (using the PIN pad attachment)
  • EMV chip card
  • Loyalty or gift card
  • EBT card
  • Contactless payment
  • Mobile payment (Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay)

VX520 specifications*

  • 8” L x 3.4” W x 3” H size
  • Weight: Slightly over 1 pound
  • Big backlit LCD monochrome display (no color display or touch screen)
  • Sturdy backlit keypad
  • MSR (magnetic stripe reader)
  • No stylus pen, although the Verifone MX models accommodate one
  • 160MB of device memory
  • 400 MHz | ARM11 32-bit RISC processor
  • Built-in thermal receipt printer
  • Power supply, power cables, and power adapter
  • Ethernet port
  • Phone port, serial port, and USB port

*The VX520 model number has changed to M252-653-AD-NAA-3

VX520 connectivity and communication

The VX520 payment terminal can connect via a phone line or ethernet cable. The ethernet cable requires a modem or router. Dial-up connectivity serves slow internet connections. Once connected, the credit card terminal can communicate electronically with other transaction parties.

Transaction security

The VX520 credit card machine is reported to be PCI compliant (like POS systems). Specifically, the device has PCI PED 2.0 approval for PIN security. The terminal also has PCI PTS 3.x approval. End-to-end encryption (offered through VeriShield Protect) is available.


The VX520 appears to integrate with many other POS systems. However, merchants should verify this before purchasing this Verifone card reader. 


The Verifone website says the VX520 was discontinued in April 2021. However, the payment terminal is available from multiple online retailers.

Each seller offers a different combination of features. Merchants should ensure that a specific product has the desired features before buying it. The Verifone card reader VX520 prices currently range from $84.27 to $238.00. A refurbished VX520 is listed at $169.95. Prices are valid as of the publication date.

Verifone Card Reader_Pricing_Infographic

Verifone VX520 Pros and Cons

Merchants should objectively review the Verifone card reader VX520’s pros and cons. They should also verify the VX520’s features before making a purchase decision.

Verifone card reader VX520 pros

  • Designed for businesses that don’t need a full-featured POS system
  • Dual communication modes (Dial-up and internet)
  • Accepts magstripe cards, EMV chip cards, and contactless payments using NFC technology
  • Processes refunds, returns, and voids from the terminal
  • Batch, gift card, and user reports accessible from the terminal

Verifone card reader VX520 cons

  • Some VX520 devices do not have WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities
  • Optional NFC capability can confuse some buyers
  • Discontinued VX520 models may no longer be PCI compliant

Customer Support

Verifone offers several types of customer support. Merchants who need immediate assistance with their VX520 can contact the Support Teams at 1-800-VERIFONE (837-4366). Verifone’s Help Desk states that it’s available “24x7x365.”

Verifone offers support in over 20 languages and with “fast average-speed-to-answer times.” Once on the line, Verifone’s technical specialists can remotely diagnose a merchant’s payment device issue.

Customers who have ordered hardware, or who sent products for repair, can access the Verifone Support Portal. This online database provides an order’s status plus projected shipping and delivery dates.

Finally, the portal helps merchants to determine if their VX520 is still covered under the Verifone device warranty. View this link for one-click access to any service menu.

Merchant Ratings and Reviews

No Trustpilot reviews are available for the VX520. 42 Amazon reviews are available, with the latest review from 2020.

Positive review highlights

  • Multiple ways to connect the VX520
  • Super-fast connections
  • Accepts swiped, dipped, and contactless payments (the latter is optional)
  • Works very well with no problems

Negative review highlights

  • A somewhat tedious set-up process
  • One user was unable to connect via any method (after seven hours)
  • Processing times are too long
  • Outdated technology doesn’t work with current hardware

Types of Businesses That May Prefer the Verifone VX520

The Verifone VX520 may be suitable for three business types. Many small retail stores and eateries have limited countertop space, so the VX520’s small footprint may be ideal.

Likewise, these businesses may not want the big cash outlay required for a POS system. Finally, businesses limited to a dial-up connection may be glad the VX520 offers one.

Factors Merchants Should Consider When Buying a Card Reader

With numerous card readers available, merchants should ensure that they buy the right one.  These four tips should be useful during the evaluation process.

  • Should accept customers’ preferred payment methods: Most customers pay with credit cards or debit cards. However, mobile wallets are becoming an increasingly popular payment method.
  • Should match the business’ transaction flow and volume: Mobile businesses, such as craft show booths and mobile dog groomers, have different flows than sit-down restaurants. The transaction volume is also a key factor. For high-volume businesses, a full-featured POS system may be preferable.
  • Should be a cost-effective choice: Card readers generally require a relatively small cash outlay. However, a smart card terminal can be pricey. Businesses should buy the terminal that meets (not exceeds) their needs.
  • Should not require a cumbersome contract: Certain payment processors offer free payment terminals and/or card readers. However, businesses must frequently sign extended contracts to receive these perks. Each merchant should carefully weigh the equipment costs against the contract obligations.

Factors to Consider When Making a VX520 Purchase Decision

Businesses considering a VX520 purchase should consider two issues. First, some merchants say the seller did not clearly present the device’s attributes. Specifically, these buyers expected a device that could process contactless payments. However, this NFC technology is an option, not a standard feature.

In addition, buyers should know that Verifone no longer offers the VX520 in its product line. Although it’s easy to buy one from online sellers, some of these devices may soon be PCI non-compliant. An independent sales organization (or ISO) may also market the VX520. An ISO facilitates payment processing for a bank or a larger payment processor.

Verifone Omni terminals and Ingenico card readers are also available. Other card reader brands include Clover, Dejavoo, and SwipeSimple. Payment Depot merchants can purchase the latter brands’ hardware through the company’s website.

The Bottom Line

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Merchants should choose a small business-friendly payment processor that can help them save money. Payment Depot sells several PCI-compliant card readers geared to different business needs.

The company’s membership-based pricing model, and no nuisance fees, are also advantages. Finally, Payment Depot offers superb customer service that always gets high reviews. To learn more, contact Payment Depot right away!

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