The much-anticipated switch to EMV technology is right around the corner, and the clock is ticking for business owners to make the transition.
On October 1, 2015 the U.S. will join almost every country in the world and officially replace “sign and swipe” magnetic stripe credit and debit cards with EMV-enabled cards. Using an embedded microchip, the new cards are designed to cut down on credit card fraud, which has increased exponentially over the past several years.
The added security features will require many merchants to change how their business accepts payments. By taking a few smart planning steps, you can ensure that you have a smooth and successful transition when the new regulations take effect.
EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, the three companies that originally created the security standards. EMV cards are smart payment cards that store the data currently found on magnetic stripes on a microchip. The chip creates a unique code for each transaction, making it almost impossible to duplicate the card for fraudulent use.
Often called chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature cards, EMV cards are read by being inserted into a slot on a payment terminal, or they can be contactless and read using radio frequency identification when held a short distance from the payment terminal (depending on the card and the terminal).
Upgrade your payment systems
If your business is not already equipped to accept EMV cards, you will need to upgrade your hardware. This likely means replacing your terminal and other hardware you use to enter transactions (such as swipers), as well as your POS software.
If you have newer terminals, they probably already have hardware capable of completing EMV transactions but may require a software update to enable the feature.
Outfitting your business with new card readers may seem like a big investment now, but it will be much more costly down the road if you don’t make the change and are held liable for chargebacks, should your customers fall victim to credit card fraud.
Help your customers adapt
Your customers likely will have questions about the new EMV-enabled technology. To help guide them through the new payment process, make sure you first understand the technology, the different types of EMV cards being issued, and methods for completing transactions.
For example, although both “chip-and-PIN” and “chip-and-signature” cards are being issued globally, most cards in the U.S. will be using the “chip-and-signature” transaction method. Some newer cards also allow for contactless and mobile payments.
Additionally, an EMV transaction takes a little longer to process than a swiped transaction, as the card remains in the terminal or card reader during the entire transaction process. This will be a big change for consumers used to swiping their cards quickly and putting them back in their wallets.
Most major card issuers (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo) have already begun issuing EMV cards, so many of your customers may have already received a new EMV card recently. Many more will receive their cards soon. By the end of 2015, 40% of U.S. debit card and 70% of U.S. credit cards will be issued as EMV cards.
Being able to answer customer questions and address their concerns will ensure transactions are fast and efficient and help promote customer loyalty.
Train your employees
Of course, you’re not the only one who needs to know what’s involved with the switch. Your employees will need to understand the various differences with the new EMV terminals to process transactions quickly and accurately. For instance, for contact transactions, cards are no longer swiped but rather inserted into a slot.
Employees will need to know that cards go in chip-side-up and must stay in the slot until the transaction registers complete. Proper training will cut down on frustration for both the employee and the customer and help them navigate the new technology more effectively.
At Integrity, we are working closely with our customers to guide them though the upcoming changes in the payment industry. You can feel confident knowing we will work with you to find the EMV-enabled terminal that best fits your company’s needs, including models from the popular Ingencio and Verifone brands at affordable pricing. Our goal is to provide you with the tools and information you need to make the switch easy and seamless for your business.