Understanding How The Ingenico iWL220 Works

The iWL220 is one of the more unique terminals offered by manufacturer Ingenico, and one that we get the most questions about. In this article, we will provide an overview of the device and how it works.

Ingenico iWL220 Bluetooth Short-Range Terminal
Ingenico iWL220 Bluetooth Short-Range Terminal

Communication

First, we call the iWL220 a “short-range” terminal because it has a limited range, usually up to 200 meters (600 feet) from it’s base if the wireless is unobstructed. Walls and buildings will reduce its effective range. The terminal pairs with its base, and automatically creates a bluetooth connection between the two.

The base itself needs either a network (LAN) connection back to your Internet router, or a phone-line in order to communicate with the credit card processor. So the terminal makes a wireless bluetooth connection back to the stationary base, and the base then communicates over the internet via a physical network cable or a telephone line. You can find instructions on how to setup the unit in our support section.

Ingenico iWL220 Charging on Its Base
Ingenico iWL220 Charging on Its Base

It’s important to note that the terminal cannot pair with a mobile device such as an iPhone or Android. Unfortunately this means that the terminal cannot be used “on-the-go” with the phone’s 3G service. For merchants looking for on-the-go processing, check out our Mobile Payment App or the Ingenico iWL250.

Connecting Multiple-Units

There are two types of bases that can be purchased with these units. The default is a communication-base, which creates the bluetooth wireless signal and has ports for the network and phone-line. These communicate bases can pair with up to five iWL220 terminals, each making a unique bluetooth connection to the base. It should be noted that if you are using a phone-line as a connection,

Merchants can also purchase “charge-only base”. These bases do not have any pairing or communication ports, but can be used for charging the additional iWL220 units.

Ingenico Wireless Communication Base
Ingenico Wireless Communication Base

Battery and Charging

Each Ingenico iWL220 has a built-in Lithium battery that can be replaced. These batteries can last up to 72 hours when idle, or up to 150 transactions. Battery duration is often not an issue for most merchants using these terminals as they will place the units back on their base (cradle) after most transactions.

For emergencies there is also a 5V micro-USB charging on the side of the unit, so the units can be charged using a normal cell phone wall or car charger.

Built-In Printer

Like most Ingenico Telium series terminals, the terminal has a built-in thermal printer. A thermal printer uses special thermal paper-rolls that require no ink. Instead, the printer burns the image into the paper using heat at the time of printing. These printers are reliable and fast, able to print 30 lines per second.

Because of the small size of these units, the paper-rolls should be limited to 65’ long in order to fit inside - unlike previous generation terminals that could hold up to 150’ rolls but were much bulkier. Below is a video on how to change a paper-roll into an Ingenico unit.

Best Merchant Applications

This unit is a favorite for restaurant owners, who want to make it more convenient for customers to pay at their table or on a patio. It is also used by medical offices, car dealerships, spas and other businesses that want to bring payments to the customer directly, instead of asking them to go pay at the front desk.

Because it is not a true long-range payment terminal, this unit will not work for tradeshows, markets, delivery, fleets and other merchants looking to sell on-the-go. For these, we recommend using either our mobile card readers or the long-range Ingenico iWL250.