Microsoft Readying Retailers for EMV Credit Card Security

Microsoft teams with point-of-sale solution providers to help retailers combat payment fraud and avoid getting stung by the upcoming credit card liability shift.

Microsoft security

Microsoft wants to make large-scale credit card fraud a thing of the past and help retailers to modernize their showrooms and sales floors with mobile and cloud-enabled point-of-sale (POS) systems.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has teamed with point-of-sale (POS) systems and solutions providers to help spur adoption of the Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) standard, also known as chip and PIN, the company announced at the National Retail Federation's Big Show conference in New York City. Compared to traditional magnetic-stripe technology, EMV-compliant cards have embedded microprocessors that thwart counterfeiting.

In October 2015, a credit card liability shift will take effect in the United States. Whereas banks have historically been on the hook for fraudulent charges, new credit card processing rules will shift that responsibility to merchants, incentivizing them to beef up their own security. Home Depot and Target, both victims of massive data breaches, have pledged to switch to EMV.

Microsoft and its partners are introducing Windows-based POS systems to help other merchants embrace EMV.

Panasonic unveiled the Toughpad FZ-R1, a ruggedized Windows 8.1 tablet with a built-in PIN pad and Near Field Communication (NFC) for mobile payment services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay. "A fully integrated EMV solution, the tablet has the ability to accept any sort of digital payment in minutes," said Brendan O'Meara, senior director of Worldwide Retail and Consumer Goods at Microsoft, in a blog post. "It's also a mobile POS device with an optional dock for standard counter service, and can house apps and services to meet many essential customer needs."

FreedomPay is leveraging Microsoft Azure to provide both secure transactions and deliver more personalized shopping experiences.

The new FreedomPay Commerce Platform is "a secure payment switching technology running on the Microsoft Azure Cloud that works with EMV certified devices, and implements PCI [Payment Card Industry] Validated Point to Point Encryption capabilities that safeguard the sensitive card and customer data," said O'Meara. Security aside, the solution also opens revenue-generating opportunities for retailers.

"Using Machine Learning capabilities and Business Intelligence platforms on Azure, merchants can offer the customer real-time purchase recommendations, loyalty programs, coupons, warranties, and the chance to donate to charity," he said.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is supporting the FreedomPay Commerce Platform for its latest mobile POS offering, revealed O'Meara. "HP released a new EMV capable ElitePad Retail Case, a flexible and versatile piece of hardware that enables retailers the ability to switch from a fixed to mobile POS whenever needed, including FreedomPay's Commerce Platform."

A flexible docking system—the ElitePad can also be fitted into a fixed location—allows HP's new device to deliver an Apple Store-like experience where the POS system comes to the customer. "This allows store associates to walk around the store with their tablet to help customers, then easily switch it back to a conventional counter check-out service in no time," said O'Meara.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...