Implementing EMV Chip and PIN Cards Can Be Costly, but Not Difficult

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-02-05 Print this article Print

He said that for most businesses the reader only needs access to a phone line and it will work.

Steve O'Halloran, a spokesman from Chase, said that his organization will configure the point of sale terminal for each customer, and then ship it directly. "Our goal is to make merchants transition to new EMV-enabled terminals as seamless as possible," O'Halloran told eWEEK in an e-mail.

The process works like this: A business that wants to accept EMV-equipped credit cards calls Chase and requests a new POS Terminal. The merchant services staff at Chase then works with the business to determine which payment networks they want to use. There are several available in the U.S. Once that's done, the folks at Chase register the terminal with the networks and teach the merchant how to use the terminal if they don't already know.

Once Chase sets it up, the terminal is able to accept EMV-enabled payments as soon as it's connected to a working phone line. The terminals come from Chase Paymentech, which is the payment processing company that handles Chase credit card processing. The terminals are capable of automatically updating themselves remotely. Chase sells a terminal that the company says is future proof, and comes able to accept any sort of payment card currently in use.

So what's the hold-up in accepting EMV chip and PIN cards? Partly it's because many businesses don't know how to go about getting the new machines. Partly it's because the credit card processing companies don't all provide EMV-enabled point of sale terminals. And partly it's because a fairly significant number of companies use proprietary software in their POS terminals and that software needs to be modified so that EMV-capable readers will work.

For larger companies, it's the sheer size and cost of the project. Target officials said during their Senate hearing testimony that the cost of converting all of its POS machines to accept EMV cards will be about $50 million dollars. That's a lot of money, because Target has a lot of terminals. You can expect that a company of similar size will find the costs are about the same.

But companies are going to have no choice but to accept EMV-capable cards by October 2015 because at that point credit card issuers are changing the rules so that merchants without the ability to handle EMV-equipped cards will be liable for credit card fraud. That could be a lot more expensive than buying the right machines and getting the right software.


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