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Seven Firsthand Observances About EMV Transition

TUCSON, Ariz. — The seven-month old transition to EMV at the point-of-sale (POS), and the future upgrade that's coming to automated fuel dispensers, is littered with questions and misconceptions, panelists stated during an educational session at the 2016 Conexxus Annual Conference, held last week at Tucson's Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. 

“There are more questions than answers about EMV,” acknowledged Linda Toth, director of standards for Conexxus. “It’s like 'Jeopardy.'”

Adding to the confusion, media coverage alleging retailers are disinterested in upgrading to EMV — an acronym for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the three companies that originally created the security standard — is flat-out wrong, explained Terry Mahoney, partner at W. Capra Consulting Group. 

“There are a lot of articles that retailers are dragging their feet. That’s not true. Retailers want to get EMV done,” Mahoney said. 

Case in point: CHS Inc., parent company of the Cenex network, has already undergone the POS upgrade to EMV at its locations. Drawing from his experience, Michael Lindberg, CHS' payment solution manager, offered conference attendees seven firsthand observances about the process:

1. Accepting a chip card at the POS has quickly been cut down to a one-second process at some big-box retailers, while the process takes 15 to 20 seconds at other locations.

2. The fewer the prompts for consumers at the POS, the better. For example, based on information that's on the card, the EMV POS device should already know what language the customer speaks, as opposed to the machine having to ask.

3. Have the customer remove their debit card or credit card at the POS before the receipt is printed so they don’t forget to take their card. The POS should also emit a beep to alert the customer that their card is still in the payment acceptance device.

4. No matter how fast an EMV transaction is at the POS, customers will always believe it’s slower than a magnetic swipe transaction.

5. Issuing EMV chip cards is expensive for the credit card purveyor. Lindberg said he’s seen cases when it took five instances of fraud on a particular credit card or debit card before a new card was issued.

6. Fraud is definitely occurring. Lindberg revealed one small petroleum retailer he knows has $65,000 in chargebacks per year. “If this is what happens [at POS devices] indoors, imagine what will happen [when the EMV liability shift date comes Oct. 1, 2017] outdoors.” 

7. Although some retailers claim they will skip EMV upgrades altogether and only offer mobile payment in the future, this new technology has not taken off at Cenex stores. “Nobody’s beating down my door for mobile payments,” he said. “They come for the lowest prices.”

The 2016 Conexxus Annual Conference took place May 1-5. Conexxus (formerly known as PCATS) is a nonprofit, member-driven technology organization dedicated to the development and implementation of standards, technologies innovation and advocacy for the convenience store and petroleum market. 

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