Chip and PIN Cards Finally Winning Acceptance in Retail Sector

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-11-28 Print this article Print
EMV Card Security

What I found interesting is that nearly half of the small businesses I visited in the month or so when I was looking actually had credit card readers that are capable of accepting cards with EMV chips. But none of those businesses was actually able to let me make a purchase using one.

So what's going on here? Think of it as a kind of complex, three-way, chicken-and-egg problem. For a secure payment system to work, three things need to exist. The first is having a secure means of payment, such as a credit card equipped with an EMV chip.

The second is a means of reading the payment method, such as an EMV-equipped card reader. The third is a means of processing the secure payment, which boils down to secure payment point of sale software and a banking network able to support it.

Right now in the U.S., there are gaps in all three. But the good news is that the first gap is starting to close. There are a number of credit, debit and prepaid cards available for those who want to request them. The folks at Credit Card Insider have thoughtfully provided a list.

Solving the second problem, which is having a way to read secure payment methods, is also within easy reach. Most merchant processing services that provide machines are now providing them with EMV capability as well as the ability to accept contactless payments using things like Apple Pay or Google Wallet. In addition, some business product sellers, including Staples, offer the card readers that support a variety of platforms at very low prices.

That leaves only the payment network and POS software that's able to complete the process. Many smaller businesses will find that a call to their merchant processor or their bank will provide access to the network.

The POS software is a thorny matter for some businesses and it's not one that's solved easily or cheaply because it can mean updating your existing software or completely replacing your POS terminals. For some businesses, including Target and Home Depot, this is the sticking point.

But this doesn't need be a roadblock to your business, nor does it need to be a major investment. What it does take is an investment of time to talk to your bank or credit card processor.

The benefit to your business may be lower processing fees because of the reduced risk of bogus cards, and in 2015, a way to avoid liability for counterfeit, lost or stolen cards completely. Considering the relatively low cost of the change to EMV card acceptance, it's almost certainly a move that makes economic sense.


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