Your EMV Questions Answered


By now, hopefully you have heard about the EMV changes that occurred on October 1.

If not, here are the basics:

  • Consumers now have new chip-equipped credit cards that allow for more secure transactions.
  • In order to accept chip-enabled payments, merchants need an EMV card reader and an EMV “gateway” service.
  • If your business has not upgraded, and a customer uses a chip card on your traditional magstripe reader, you could be liable for costs in fraud cases.

Still need more information? NCR Silver’s resident EMV expert Mark Critchett was recently on hand to provide the latest insight on what it all means for your small business.

What is one thing that merchants might not know about EMV?

MC: It’s a common misconception that the liability shift applies to all credit card transactions. The liability shift only applies when a consumer presents an EMV card. If a magnetic stripe card is used, the liability remains the same as it did before October 1.

What are the benefits of upgrading to EMV?

MC: The primary benefit of EMV lies in its ability to prevent fraudulent transactions from counterfeit cards. Companies who are more likely to be at risk for card fraud are the ones that achieve the highest benefits.

What is an EMV gateway?

MC: Think of the EMV gateway as a traffic cop. Your customers will come to you with a number of cards from different banks. In order to authorize the transactions, you need a service that is able to route the transaction to the issuing bank’s processor, and direct the approvals into the point of sale system. And to further the “cop” analogy, the gateway ensures that all the card data is encrypted and kept safe along the way.

Which small businesses need it the most?

MC: Companies that are at highest risk for credit card fraud are typically those who sell items that have value on the black market. For example, electronics stores and jewelry stores.

Why aren’t more people using EMV?

MC: EMV technology represents a large change, and because of its cost and complexity, small businesses will be slower to adopt the new technology.

The vast majority of businesses that are accepting EMV payments are the big box retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

On the consumer side, not all shoppers have EMV cards in their wallet. The latest research indicates between 30-50 percent of households still do not have a chip credit card.

Why don’t the new chip credit cards require a PIN?

MC: The move to EMV represents a significant learning curve for both consumers and merchants. To help ease the initial impact on consumers, most banks have decided that a chip and signature will be easier on their customers than chip and PIN.

Overtime we expect more banks will move toward chip and pin, which has an even higher level of security.

Any advice on easing the transition?

MC: Both consumers and merchants need to recognize that the transition to EMV is a process that will take months, if not years, to become fully deployed.

In fact, there are newer technologies, namely mobile wallet technologies like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, that might actually leapfrog card-based transactions.

In short, merchants need to remain flexible and work with partners like NCR that will continue to keep them ready for the future.

Have more questions? Let ‘em fly below.

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