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EMV and the Point of Sale System Summary

EMVs are chip-enabled credit cards that offer greater security (i.e. fraud prevention) than their more traditional swipe-and-sign counterparts do. Already the standard in most parts of the world, these EMV credit cards have only recently emerged in the U.S.

In fact, nearly all European retail stores are EMV-ready, and global penetration is approaching 70 percent. Even neighboring Canada will completely embrace these more secure cards by 2015.

In the U.S., legacy credit card terminals can accept EMVs (although the reverse isn’t true, as Americans often discover when traveling abroad). Because of this interoperability with stateside credit card readers, many merchants delay upgrading their equipment. But shifting liability rules and mounting credit card fraud are helping to drive EMV adoption within the U.S.

However, making the transition is daunting for some. Below are a few summarized tips to make upgrading your retail store’s credit card capabilities easier.

1. What Hardware Infrastructure Will You Need to Accept EMVs?

Although legacy terminals can already accept EMV credit cards, they’re unable to read and process the extra security features — i.e. the embedded chips.

As such, American retailers must invest in updated EMV terminals. These newer terminals require users to insert (rather than swipe) their cards to establish direct contact between the chip and the reader. In contactless environments, these chips wirelessly interface with near field communication (NFC) readers.

When retrofitting retail stores, be sure to contact your hardware provider to verify whether your new readers have passed Level I and/or Level II EMV application certification.

2. How Much Physical Space Do You Need?

EMV credit card readers are about the same size as legacy terminals. However, the devices normally face the customer (who inserts his or her own card) — and not the cashier (who would normally swipe the card on behalf of the shopper).

In high-volume retail environments, you might consider adding a cashier-side payment terminal in order to process transactions more quickly. In low-volume environments, however, pivoting terminals are usually sufficient.

3. How Do Retail Customers Interact with EMV Terminals?

As mentioned before, the terminal usually faces the customer. With standard EMV readers, the shopper inserts his or her card. With NFC terminals, the shopper can wave the card.

In order to complete the transaction, customers must either:

  • Sign their name (when using chip & signature cards)
  • Enter a personal identification number (when using chip & PIN cards)

Because the entire process is a break from swipe-and-sign tradition, you may need to invest in additional employee training.

Making the Transition to EMV Credit Card Readers

Experts predict that by 2018, EMV technology will be the official standard in the U.S. But there are benefits to making the transition sooner than that. Retail stores that embrace EMV terminals can dramatically reduce their exposure to risk and liability. Those that don’t remain easy targets for hackers.

To reduce long-term expenses (and boost sales), your best strategy is to adopt EMV technology sooner, rather than later. To get started, use the free resources below:

  • To learn more about EMV credit card terminals, click here.
  • To learn more about secure credit card processing at BluePay, click here.
  • To schedule a free appointment with our support team, click here.

Topics: Payment Technology

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