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Retailers Get Ready for the EMV Impact

As October 1 approached, retailers struggled to implement systems that could support the microchip-based EMV payment cards. That deadline came and passed, however, and many brands still do not have the technology in place to accept the relatively new form of debit and credit cards. The good news is that those retailers can still deploy EMV payment systems, but first, businesses must understand the procedures, risks and benefits of implementing EMV-supporting technologies.

The future of payment cards is arriving shortly, as reports indicated that 70 percent of all U.S. EMV credit and debit cards will be issued before 2015 ends. This means acting fast could save retailers from falling behind the times. However, 59 percent of American consumers don't even have their EMV cards yet, so there is some room to breath.

Retail gets a technology upgrade
Chip-based EMV payments cards will arrive shortly, and in order to accept these new transactional technologies, retailers need to deploy new systems. Point-of-interaction devices will support EMV credit and debit cards, but they must also have their software upgraded before businesses can start using them. POI terminals require Level 2 Type Approval certification, or retailers won't be able to accept EMV.

Two approaches
Retailers have two options when its comes to EMV hardware adoption.

The first choice is to buy and install all of the necessary system components - hardware and software - required to support EMV cards. This way, retailers can take advantage of EMV as soon as possible and remove fraud liabilities.

Alternatively, merchants can replace payment card terminals before MasterCard, Visa and others announce their strategies. However, with this approach, retailers will need to update their payment terminal software as well as other card-accepting devices.

When retailers fail to upgrade
After October 30, customers will be able to use their EMV chip-based payment cards in stores. If retailers do not have the technology to support that transactional method, they will be held responsible for any fraudulent activities that result from swipe-and-sign payments.

Retailers can rest easy very soon, as POS integrators, payment application developers and gateway processors have created solutions for achieving EMV compliance. Fully integrated systems will work in conjunction with existing point-of-sale platforms, while "semi-integrated" solutions function with nominal POS interaction. Either way, retailers can seek out support to ensure that they successfully embrace their new EMV complaint POS systems.

The EMV Impact Infographic