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Training Employees to Accept EMV Credit Card Payments

EMV credit cards have already become standard worldwide, with the United States being the last major market that still relies on traditional swipe-and-sign plastic.

One reason behind this slower adoption rate is the investment that merchants must make to begin accepting EMV credit card payments. You need a special terminal that can read and process chip-enabled cards. But experts predict that by 2018, EMV readers will become "ubiquitous" at point-of-sale locations across the country.

The transition is inevitable. But it won't be 100 percent automatic. For in addition to new credit card readers, merchants must also train their staff how to accept EMV credit card payments.

Below are some of the biggest changes you and your employees will probably encounter:

1. Customers Keep Their Plastic

Arguably the biggest change is the "swipe" itself. During a typical EMV transaction, shoppers insert their own cards into the terminal instead of handing over their plastic to a cashier.

It's not an earth-shattering change, but it's still a departure from years of swiping and signing tradition.

Training Tip #1: Make sure your staff can easily spot EMV credit cards before the transaction begins. That way, employees will know how best to proceed (either instruct customers to insert their cards or ask customers to hand over their cards).

2. PINs vs. Signatures

Some EMV credit cards require signatures. Others require personal identification numbers (PINs). And unfortunately, it's not always possible to tell which is which simply by looking at the card.

However, EMV credit card readers usually prompt the customer for whichever authorization procedure is required. Train your staff to be on the lookout for instructions from the terminal (a process that may require reading upside-down text since EMV machines face away from the cashier).

Training Tip #2: Do some dry runs with both types of EMV credit cards. Since the charges will be real, you’ll need to know how to reverse each transaction. Be sure to read the next major change.

3. Chargebacks, Returns and Cancellations

Processing payments is easy enough. Canceling or returning EMV payments, however, is a bit trickier. The exact steps vary from card to card, terminal to terminal and bank to bank:

  • Sometimes the cashier must authorize the cancellation.
  • Other times, the customer must begin the process.
  • And still other times, both parties must initiate chargebacks together.

Training Tip 3: When doing dry runs, don't forget to cancel and return all of the charges. For additional help with cancellations, please contact our support team directly.

4. Managing Customer Expectations

If you invest enough time and practice with EMV credit card machines, it's a relatively painless transition. But no matter how comfortable you and your staff become, remember that EMVs are still very new for many American shoppers.

  • Inserting your own card?
  • Entering a PIN code?
  • Not signing a receipt?

These are all pretty foreign concepts for some. So, arguably the most important training tip of all involves teaching your employees how to guide novice EMV consumers through the transaction process. You might even consider drafting a polite script to help reduce confusion.

EMV credit card payments will eventually become mainstream in the United States. But until that happens, be prepared for a certain level of handholding.

For more EMV-related training tips, schedule a free consultation with our support team today.

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