EMV is Here: Are All Your Locations Chip-card Ready?

If you’re in a decision-making position at the corporate or executive HQ at a large, national or regional retailer or restaurant chain, it is my hope that the above title doesn’t leave you with questions. If it does, you’re already behind the eight ball with little time left to make the necessary changes to each and every one of your location’s point of sale units.

The fact of the matter is that in October of 2015, credit and debit card fraud liability shifts. Up until now, it was the responsibility of the card issuer to deal with issues of fraud, but due to Card Association regulatory changes, that liability is shifting to the business—meaning big problems for your business if you’re not already in the process of vetting and installing POS units that are PCI compliant.

Chip-equipped cards have been standard in Europe for some time; EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. Come October of 2015, any business, large or small, will be liable for counterfeit and lost/stolen fraud on chip cards if it is unable to process properly. Chip cards are harder to counterfeit and create barriers for fraudsters when data breaches occur. The advantage of this technology is that the chip creates a unique transaction code with each swipe or tap, meaning stolen card numbers, even if stolen, cannot be used to create counterfeit cards to present at the point of sale because the data for each transaction is unique to that transaction.

So what does all this mean for large retailers facing this upcoming challenge? It means a large investment in new POS terminals (and/or updating current technology, where possible) at each and every one of your locations, and the time to change them all out.

Before you do that, there’s all of the prep work of planning how to get this massive undertaking done, and the coordination of the changeover in your stores, including training for your system admin (if you have one) and all of your employees.

Then there’s the possibly thousands of man-hours to ensure both the hardware you use and the software backing it up are installed properly and certified PCI compliant.

If you’re not already slotted with a security expert to do this massive changeover, you may be facing challenges, as companies equipped to do these huge jobs are in high demand, meaning that if you wait too long, the technology and/or the partner your business needs may not be available before October.

But the news isn’t all bad: properly handled, businesses could use this investment in security as an opportunity to show their customers how important protecting personal data is to their business. As you update your technology and systems, let your customers know what you’re up to—it’ll show them that data security is important to your business and that you care enough to go the extra mile to ensure they’re protected from data thieves.

Whether or not you’ve already started this process, it’s important that it’s handled with care. When choosing a partner, make sure you go with someone who’s been in the business of transaction security for decades, like First Data. Years of experience with data security coupled with state-of-the-art technology will ensure that when the job gets done, it gets done right—protecting your business, its reputation, and your relationship with your customers for years to come.


Lisa Fugate is the Vice President of Financial Services Channel and Product Marketing at First Data, leading the Financial Services team in helping financial institutions of every size, from community banks to global financial groups, find the right software, hardware, processing, and security solution to meet their needs. Whether developing thought leadership content, working to develop new solutions, or ensuring First Data’s partners are ahead of the curve when it comes to industry updates, Lisa and her team are always working to ensure the right client partner gets the right solution to meet their needs, every time.

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