3 Tips for a Smooth Transition to EMV Chip Card Terminals

The latest stats on EMV bring us good news about U.S. merchant chip card acceptance. The U.S. Payments Forum Fall 2017 Snapshot reports that 96% of the top 200 merchants are now fully EMV enabled and between 70 and 80% of small-and-medium-sized businesses are accepting chip-on-chip payments.

For retailers who haven’t made the switch to EMV yet, now is a great time to do so. Consumers are using their chip cards more than ever and as they become aware of the tap-and-go convenience of contactless payments, the ROI on contactless-capable EMV terminals will continue to grow.

Based on feedback from wireless retailers who’ve already transitioned to EMV, the iQmetrix Payments team has identified the major pain points in the implementation process, figured out how to solve them, and have created a plan for your transition to EMV. Here are a few tips to make EMV enablement go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Align EMV enablement with your other business goals.

There’s a huge selection of EMV device available, so it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your wireless business. Aside from EMV enablement, consider your other business goals when choosing which devices you want to implement.

Do you want to convert to a mobile store setup? There are mobile EMV devices that pair perfectly with mPOS systems and allow your customers to pay however and wherever they prefer.

Do you want to create a more consistent branding experience across all customer touchpoints? Go with multimedia chip card readers that display branded logos and promos on their color screens.

Trying to save time in your operations? EMV terminals with embedded signature capture allow you to electronically store paper receipts so you can stop drowning in paper and optimize your operational efficiency. Plus, by sending customer receipts digitally, you’ll decrease checkout times — customers rejoice!

By using EMV enablement as an opportunity to reach your other business goals, you’ll cut down on costs and boost your ROI.

  1. Determine all the necessary hardware and software components you’ll need to get chip-equipped. 

Once you’ve decided which type of EMV terminals to implement, you’ll want to shop around at different POS vendors to compare prices. But beware: if you find an amazing deal on EMV terminals that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Ideally, the costs of EMV enablement would be totally transparent. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case; many vendors list the prices of their payment terminals alone but neglect to include all the other components you’ll need to get your new terminals up and running. The hidden costs” of key injections, software loads, cables, mounting stands, barcode scanners, carrying cases, and other accessories can sometimes cost nearly as much as the terminals themselves.

Before you commit to a vendor, make sure the price you’re quoted includes everything you need to start accepting EMV payments.

  1. Educate your sales associates about EMV transactions. 

By now, most consumers know how to use chip cards. But it’s still important for your staff to be knowledgeable about the correct procedures for an EMV transaction. For cashiers, the main difference between chip cards and magnetic stripe cards is that chip cards never have to leave cardholders’ hands. Your staff should be able to quickly recognize chip cards and instruct customers to insert their own cards.

It’s also best practice to provide training on how to handle what’s called a fallback” transaction. A fallback transaction refers to the scenario where a chip card payment cannot be completed normally with an EMV terminal, so the transaction falls back” to magnetic stripe or key entry. In this case, the cashier will have to complete the transaction either by swiping the card or manually entering the card number into the terminal’s PIN pad.

Although many fallback transactions are legitimate, they are less secure than EMV and thus more susceptible to fraud. It’s important for sales associates to know how to correctly handle a fallback scenario and identify counterfeit cards to prevent fraudulent transactions. 

Want to learn more about best practices for implementing EMV? Get in touch with us today!

Shutterstock / Jacob Lund