Ready or Not, U.S. EMV Deadline Is Fast Approaching

 

As the October 2015 EMV deadline in the U.S. approaches, the question that has been popping up recently in payments industry publications is “Are you ready?” Although the deadline has been postponed many times, it looks like it’s finally time for retailers to start taking the transition seriously. This means getting the hardware and protocols implemented in time for the deadline, now just a few weeks away.

An unpleasant scenario where retailers would have to turn away customers due to their inability to accept the newly-issued chip cards is not one we would like to see become a reality.

EMV and the Role of Acquirers

In this vein, PaymentsSource recently reported that acquirers and ISOs have an opportunity to play a key role in helping retailers with the EMV transition, particularly when it comes to understanding the risks of fraud liability and getting a handle on all of the new technology requirements.

Mark Dunn, president of the sales consulting group Field Guide Enterprises, was quoted as saying at this year’s Midwest Acquirers Association 2015 conference that

EMV is now a consulting opportunity for ISOs, because these merchants need someone to talk them through the changes and review how they are processing card payments right now.

This type of consulting may be critical for some retailers because, despite all the publicity over the last few years, a significant group may still be in the dark about the impending U.S. EMV migration. According to an Aite Group research report from late last year, 34% of retailers interviewed had never even heard of the U.S. migration to EMV-chip payment cards.

Increased Online Fraud?

Another EMV transition concern is a possible uptick in online gift card fraud after the October transition deadline. This is because while EMV should dramatically reduce card-present fraud, it doesn’t protect against the card-not-present version. The place where this type of fraud flourishes best is online.

The UK’s experience can give us some clues as to what to expect. CNP fraud there rose 79% in the first three years after EMV adoption.

Why could online gift cards become a new target for credit card data thieves? According to this article, the easiest and fastest way for fraudsters to monetize stolen credit data is to buy online gift cards, which are essentially a form of cash, “so they can either be spent immediately or easily re-sold on both legitimate gift card swap websites and the black market.”

The author notes that reliable fraud prevention is key for retailers who want to avoid situations where well-meaning shoppers might try to pay for goods with fraudulent gift cards they bought online thinking they were legitimate.

EMV Success

We asked Rod Katzfey, our VP of Sales/ Business Development in North America for some of his thoughts on dealing with the upcoming EMV deadline. Here’s what he has to say:

Will EMV in the U.S. reach nationwide, mass adoption in the near future? The likelihood is probably not for a couple of years until banks and retailers alike understand that it is one of the unavoidable ‘saviors’ if we ever want to reduce the amount of fraud taking place on a card present level in this country.

At some point, the fraud costs will outweigh the adoption costs. Even if it does take one or two or even several years for widespread adoption, the reality is that when it comes to the technical implementation of EMV-certified POS devices, it does takes time. Therefore, it is in the best interest of retailers and banks if they start the migration sooner rather than later.

Consulting with experts such as Credorax – which has been providing EMV solutions in Europe for some time now – perhaps can help these parties to alleviate their particular pain points during the migration.”

 

We hope that through increased retailer education, the upcoming EMV transition will be as smooth and safe as possible.

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